Aims: To examine nursing time spent on administration of medications in a residential aged care (RAC) home, and to determine factors that influence the time to medicate a resident.
Background: Information on nursing time spent on medication administration is useful for planning and implementation of nursing resources.
Methods: Nurses were observed over 12 morning medication rounds using a time–motion observational method and field notes, at two high-care units in an Australian RAC home.
Results: Nurses spent between 2.5 and 4.5 hours in a medication round. Administration of medication averaged 200 seconds per resident. Four factors had significant impact on medication time: number of types of medication, number of tablets taken by a resident, methods used by a nurse to prepare tablets and methods to provide tablets.
Conclusion: Administration of medication consumed a substantial, though variable amount of time in the RAC home. Nursing managers need to consider the factors that influenced the nursing time required for the administration of medication in their estimation of nursing workload and required resources.
Implications for nursing management: To ensure safe medication administration for older people, managers should regularly assess the changes in the factors influencing nursing time on the administration of medication when estimating nursing workload and required resources.