For every 30 residents in a nursing home, a nurse is needed solely to administer and manage medicines. Nurses are a valuable resource and are in short supply in all areas of health care. A number of government reports have called for the use of suitably trained and competent carers to support registered nurses in their activities, including in the area of medicines management, and the Department of Health in England has issued guidelines on the delegation of medicines administration by carers to nurses .
Researchers from Cardiff University School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences led by Dr Mat Smith evaluated a project where nurses used Invatech Health’s electronic medicines management system, the ATLAS family of eMAR products, to delegate medicines management activities to trained carers.
The REMEDY project compared nurses’ and carers’ medicines administration activities across eight care homes in England and Wales. Nearly 300,000 administration records were examined for safety and accountability. The evaluation also examined the views of nurses, carers and managers on this new model of working.
The conclusion drawn by Dr Mat Smith , Cardiff University’s REMEDY project lead, and his research team, is that there was no difference in medicines administration between nurses and carers in terms of safety, missed administrations and the timing of actual administrations when using Invatech’s technology. He went on to say:
“Before the model was implemented, our qualitative investigation showed there were a number of barriers to the implementation of nurse-delegated medicines administration. These included perceptions that medicines administration is a fundamental role for nurses, unmet training needs, and anxiety around managing competing workloads when carers were deployed to administer medicines. However, after the model was implemented, these views were replaced with carers wanting to know and do more, and nurses feeling less pressured with increased capacity to deliver resident-centered care.”
The REMEDY project was initiated by Mary Mowat of Claremont Court and Ty Ceirios nursing homes with the aim of demonstrating that carers can administer medicines in nursing homes, just as they have been doing this in residential homes for years. She views the real benefit of the delegation of medicines administration to carers to be the freeing up of nurses’ time to oversee the holistic care of residents, safe in the knowledge that Invatech’s technology ensures complete safety in the medicines management process.
Clive Bowman, Chair of Invatech Health said, “As a company we were delighted to be involved in this project which uses our technology, e-learning, data and processes to enable new models of care whilst ensuring safety and accountability.”
There was no difference in medicines administration between nurses and carers in terms of safety, missed administrations and the timing of actual administrations when using Invatech’s technology.
Dr Mat Smith – Director of Learning and Teaching at School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences, Cardiff University