Background: Despite increasing research interest in caregivers’ interaction with technology, there has been no attempt to investigate how the introduction of an electronic nursing documentation system in a residential aged care facility may affect caregivers’ use of their time.
Objective: To assess how caregivers use their time before and after the introduction of an electronic nursing documentation system in a residential aged care facility.
Methods: An observational work sampling study was undertaken with caregivers at 2 months before, and at 3, 6, 12 and 23 months after the implementation of an electronic nursing documentation system.
Results: During the first 12 months after implementation, the proportion of time spent by personal carers on documentation increased whereas the proportions on direct care and communication decreased. At 23 months, these proportions had returned to pre - implementation levels. The proportion of time spent by recreational activity officers on documentation increased, that on communication decreased and the proportion on direct care remained stable during the first 12 months after implementation. The proportion of time on documentation returned to the preimplementation level after 23 months. Changes in proportions of time on other activities were not directly associated with the introduction of the electronic system.
Conclusion: Caregivers in residential aged care facility may take over a year to integrate and use an electronic nursing documentation system in their daily work. Organisations implementing such systems should acknowledge the level of resources and time needed for the workforce to fully absorb the system and integrate it into their daily residential aged care service delivery.