Australian Residential Aged Care Facilities Managers’ and Nurses’ Experiences In Implementing Telehealth and Social Connection During COVID-19

Main Article Content

Annie Banbury
https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8841-1215
Ms Monica Taylor
https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5333-2955
Dr Natasha Reid
Professor Anthony Smith
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7756-5136
Professor David Paterson
Professor Leonard Gray
https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2141-0802

Abstract

Introduction: Residential aged care facility (RACF) residents are highly vulnerable to severe infection and death from COVID-19. During the pandemic, telehealth (telephone and video) provided a mechanism to deliver for health care and social support. We examined logistical factors associated with telehealth, reasons for its use and barriers associated with the choice of telehealth.


Methods: A mixed method exploratory study. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics. Qualitative data were analysed using a hybrid framework approach; deductive analysis followed by inductive analysis for sub-themes.


Results: Participants (n=19) reported an increase in telehealth use during COVID-19. Organisations bought new equipment, predominately tablets; half had internet connectivity difficulties; nurses used personal devices to overcome connectivity issues or inadequate devices and 74% used three or more platforms/software. Few residents had personal digital devices or could connect with family and friends alone.


Five key sub-themes emerged from qualitative data. 1. Needing and persisting with telehealth. RACFs had limited video telehealth use before COVID-19. 2. Being dependent on health providers offering telehealth services. Telehealth was used for a broad range of services. However, many health providers did not offer telehealth consultations. 3 Residents living with dementia. Telehealth was suitable for residents with dementia, depending on the disease stage and clinical need. 4. Challenges with implementing telehealth consultations. Most challenges pertained to workflows. 5. Suitability of videoconferencing for social connection. Staff supported residents with video calls which were highly valued.


Conclusion: To capitalise on and sustain telehealth activity in RACFs, further guidance and support to overcome operational barriers are required.

Article Details

How to Cite
Banbury, A., Taylor, M., Reid, N., Smith, A., Paterson, D., & Gray, L. (2024). Australian Residential Aged Care Facilities Managers’ and Nurses’ Experiences In Implementing Telehealth and Social Connection During COVID-19. Asia Pacific Journal of Health Management. https://doi.org/10.24083/apjhm.v19i1.2567
Section
Research Articles
Author Biographies

Annie Banbury, Centre for Health Services Research, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

1. Research Fellow, PhD, Centre for Health Services Research, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, 4102, Australia
2. Centre for Online Health at the Centre for Health Services Research, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, 4102, Australia,

Ms Monica Taylor, Centre for Health Services Research, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

Monica Taylor is a Senior Research Assistant who began working at the Centre for Online Health in 2016 and currently leads and assists with health research studies, service evaluations, and consultancies. Her recent projects include evaluating telehealth implemented in cancer care, mental health, and other allied health disciplines, as well as investigating health equity in relation to telehealth. She has expertise in research administration including ethics and governance, in data collection, and in data management.

Prior to joining the COH team Monica completed a Master of Public Health degree at The University of Queensland and coordinated a cancer prevention research study at The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto, Canada.

She has also previously conducted injury prevention research at the Queensland Children’s Medical Research Institute (QCMRI) in Brisbane.

Dr Natasha Reid, Centre for Health Services Research, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

Dr Natasha Reid is an Epidemiologist and Research Fellow at the Centre for Health Services Research, Faculty of Medicine. Natasha has a specific interest in increasing quality of life and healthy life expectancy, and works across epidemiological, intervention and dissemination projects identifying and addressing frailty in a number of settings.

Professor Anthony Smith, Centre for Health Services Research, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

Professor Anthony Smith is the Director of The University of Queensland's Centre for Online Health (COH), Centre of Health Services Research and Adjunct Professor at the Hans Christian Anderson Children's Hospital and University of Southern Denmark, in Odense, Denmark.

Professor Smith is also the Editor in Chief for the Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare (Sage Publishers, London; Impact Factor 6.344).

Professor Smith has more than 20 years of research experience involving the planning, implementation and evaluation of telemedicine applications for the benefit of clinicians and patients in regional and remote areas of Australia. Professor Smith has developed and sustained an exemplary international track record in the establishment and evaluation of telehealth, principally in paediatrics and more recently in the adult and aged care disciplines. Specific research interests include the evaluation of feasibility, cost-effectiveness and diagnostic accuracy of telemedicine applications. Major research achievements have included the evaluation of wireless (robot) videoconference systems in paediatric wards; and a community-based telemedicine health screening programme for Indigenous children in Queensland. Current projects include the evaluation of telehealth applications in primary care settings and Indigenous communities; the delivery of tele-rehabilitation services into primary schools; online mental health support services in remote locations; and discipline specific clinical telehealth services in Queensland

Professor David Paterson, Centre for Clinical Research, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

Professor Paterson is Director at The University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research. He is also a Consultant Infectious Diseases Physician at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital (Australia's largest hospital and ranked in the top 100 hospitals of the world). He is Australia's most cited Infectious Diseases Physician and is the country's highest cited researcher in the field of Microbiology. He has been in the ISI Thomson Reuters Highly Cited List annually from 2015 to 2019.

Professor Leonard Gray, Centre for Health Services Research, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

Professor Gray is the Director of the Centre for Health Services Research (CHSR) within the Faculty of Medicine. Prior to assuming this role, he directed both the Centre for Online Health and the Centre for Research in Geriatric Medicine, both of which have been incorporated into the new CHSR. The Centre is located on the Princess Alexandra Hospital campus in Brisbane.

He has formal training in medicine as a specialist geriatrician and in health administration. Previously he held senior management positions in the public health system in Victoria, in general management and aged care services. He joined academia full time at UQ in 2002.

His research interests focus on aged care policy, models of aged care service delivery, assessment and care planning systems, and in recent years, health informatics and telemedicine strategies.

He leads international development of hospital systems, and is a Board member and the Australian coordinator for interRAI, a multinational research collaborative.