LTC staff spend only half of time on care

Long-term care nurses spend more than half of their time completing tasks that don't involve resident care, according to new research in the Journal of Nursing Studies.

Investigators observed seven Canadian nursing homes and found that staff spent as much as 53.7% of their time engaged in non-value added activities such as looking for charts, transporting linens and restocking. 

The study also found resident aides spent 35.5% of their time on non-value activities, more than registered nurses and licensed practical nurses. The results show an RN's time is mostly spent on indirect care, like reviewing charts, while an LPN's time is spent on a combination of direct and indirect care.

“It is possible that factors such as facility design, organizational culture, practitioner skills and relationships between providers have a greater impact on provider activities than professional designations,” wrote lead author Rose McCloskey, Ph.D., RN, of the University of New Brunswick.

McCloskey and her colleagues suggest tasks currently performed by RNs and LPNs could be delegated to non-regulated workers in order to increase facilities' efficiency.