A two-year independent evaluation by the University of Canberra (UC) found an Australian age-tech solution can free up 20 per cent of the time nurses and carers spend on paperwork, which can be diverted to patient care.
The study of the ACE system, developed by Canberra-based technology firm Humanetix, found it improves the care of aged care residents by enabling nurses and carers to spend more time with patients, rather than on administration.
ACE is a point-of-care documentation, decision-support and clinical workflow IT system that supports staff care delivery for Residential Aged Care residents.
The University of Canberra’s Associate Professor Kasia Bail said their independent study shines a light for the first time on exactly what nurses and other carers in residential aged care facilities spend their precious time doing.
“It highlights not only the potential for technology to help nurses focus on care, but also the potential it has for improving practice over time,” Associate Professor Bail said.
Humanetix Founder Matt Darling said the Aged Care Royal Commission recommended that by July next year, aged care recipients should receive at least 200 minutes per day of care time.
“Sadly, such a benchmark is rarely met, and we know that many nurses are of the view that the most time consuming part of their job is documentation and administration,” Mr Darling said.
“This is where ACE comes in. The independent UC study confirmed our system allows nurses and carers to spend significantly more time with residents, to improve the quality of care and to provide better data about the care residents receive.
“This is the type of innovation which can free up nurse time and provide quality-assured care with transparency and accountability.”
The UC study found ACE addresses those critical staff and skills shortage issues identified by the Royal Commission.
A 20 per cent increase in staff productivity gives each care worker an extra 96 minutes per shift and is the equivalent of adding an extra 15 full-time care staff in a typical 150-bed home.
Across the sector, that is equivalent to increasing staff in residential aged care by about 5,000 full-time nurses and 14,000 full-time carers.
ACE has been operating as a Federal Government-funded pilot program for nearly two years at the Jindalee Aged Care Residence, a 170-bed facility in Canberra. Owner of the Jindalee Aged Care Residence Gary Johnson said the UC evaluation found Jindalee was a well-run and staffed facility with a high standard of care and resident satisfaction.
“With the installation of ACE, Jindalee now has unmatched quality assurance and an even greater understanding of each resident’s needs and preferences,” Mr Johnson said.