Medication management in municipality-based healthcare: a time and motion study of nurses

Malin Holmqvist, Mirjam Ekstedt, Scott Walter, Elin C. Lehnbom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of this observational time and motion study was to increase our understanding of how nurses in home healthcare currently distribute their work time with a focus on the medication management process. The research was conducted in four municipalities in the southern part of Sweden. Participants were nurses working in home healthcare. The study measured proportion of time, comparison of proportions of time, proportion of time spent multitasking, and rate of interruptions per hour. Of total observed time, 20.4% was spent on medication management and of these tasks the highest proportion of time was spent on communications and dispensing medications. Nurses in nursing homes spent more time (23.0% vs. 17.4%, p = 0.001) on medication management than nurses in private homes. Nurses spent 47.9% of their time completing tasks with someone else, including patients, but had minimal interaction with prescribers. We observed a rate of 1.2 (95% CI 1.1-1.4) interruptions per hour on average and 30% of all interruptions occurred during medication management tasks. Nurses spent 3.7% of their time multitasking. Interruptions while performing medication-related tasks were common, as well as multitasking. Causes and consequences of the results need to be addressed in order to improve the safety of medication management for patients receiving municipality-based home care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-246
Number of pages9
JournalHome healthcare now
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


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