Strip Packaging May Save Significant Nurse Time
Warrenville, IL – Time is of the essence, and saving time for nurses in med preparations at skilled-nursing communities is a reachable operational efficiency according to a unique new study by researchers at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. The study showed savings gained by using strip packaging for oral medications over bingo card packaging can total more than 1,200 hours of nurse time per site or nearly $40,000 annually. For an organization of 20 communities, the savings could approach $1 million a year.
Bingo-card packaging in the study consisted of 15- or 30-count single-dose blister cards with nurses punching each tablet out of the blister. Strip packaging consisted of a seven-day supply of medications contained in strips of clear tear-off single-dose packets. The packets were printed and sorted within the strips by resident, day, and administration time.The study, the first to focus exclusively on med packaging as an important part of the daily med-prep process in skilled-nursing communities, compares the use of strip packaging for oral medications to the use of bingo cards with striking results.
After analyzing data from med-pass observations at two similar skilled-nursing communities, researchers found that strip packaging produced significant savings in time and other benefits; strip packaging saved some 44 seconds per resident over bingo cards on average, and six minutes for the study’s average med pass of 15 residents. Translating these time savings into potential costs saved by a typical U.S. skilled-nursing community shows a nursing home could save enough to hire an additional nurse in most regions. Continue>
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