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Tablets with illustrated care plans prove helpful for care workers

Using a mobile device to access illustrated care directives at the bedside can increase quality of care, aged care workers say.

A study across 12 Wesley Mission Queensland aged care facilities evaluated the benefits of giving personal care workers a tablet to access an illustrated care plan.

The picture care plan (PCP) is a point-of-care app in Leecare’s care software program that gives care workers illustrated information immediately prior to providing care to the resident.

The Wesley Mission study, recently published in Health Informatics Journal, evaluated the effectiveness of the PCP from the perspective of the PCWs through an anonymous questionnaire.

Most of the 85 respondents said that using the app was helpful (87 per cent) while many said they believed it increased resident safety and quality of care (76 per cent) and gave them more confidence in their work (69 per cent).

The tool has sections on safety, movement in bed, transfers, mobility, hygiene, toileting, meals and drinks, skin care, oral and dental, communication and pain management, and a brief life history.

PCP screenshot on mobility included in the research

The survey found 60 per cent of participants often or always used the app when providing care, while a further 15 per cent used it sometimes.

The majority of respondents said the tablet and PCP at point of care was often or always helpful (75 per cent), time-saving (73 per cent) and easy to use (81 per cent).

The weight of the device (306 grams) was the most common concern that limited its use while carrying out care duties raised by the care workers.

Some participants reported the tablet was heavy and cumbersome and pulled on their utility belt or shoulder bag.

Wi-Fi speed and the need to log in to the device several times during a shift were among other issues raised.

“Findings suggest that staff are receptive to adoption of mobile devices to access care directives at the point-of-care and that the technology is useful,” the authors wrote.

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