Expert Panel Makes 32 Recommendations to Improve Care at Erie St. Clair CCAC

WINDSOR, CHATHAM, and SARNIA, ON, July 10, 2014 /CNW/ - An independent panel of nursing experts called in to examine patient care and access to community services, staffing levels and safety concerns at the Erie St. Clair Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) has released 32 recommendations in its report on improving care.

The panel was called in by the CCAC's Care Coordinators, of which 90 per cent are RNs, members of the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA). They have the responsibility of assessing the level of care patients require, developing and implementing patient-centered plans for in-home and community healthcare services, and providing ongoing evaluation to ensure the changing care needs of their patients are addressed.

The recommendations address issues it acknowledge exist at the CCAC, including: morale, staff levels, workload/scheduling, communications and professional responsibility processes, clarity of roles, scope of practice of workers, and the Event Tracking Management System used. Ten recommendations dealt with staffing and workload, four dealt with the scope of unregulated health care providers working at the CCAC and the need for training; four recommendations dealt with keeping the professional responsibility clause of Care Coordinators flowing in a timely manner. In addition, moral and ethical issues were the focus of eight recommendations that address morale and workplace culture.

"The panel acknowledged that workload and staffing levels are significant issues at the Erie-St. Clair CCAC," said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "The organization has failed to add a promised additional 15 Care Coordinators; just eight have been hired. The panel agrees that the remaining vacancies must be filled to ensure our patients receive the care they deserve."

Haslam-Stroud says that, "Care Coordinators are highly skilled registered nurses, physiotherapists, social workers, occupational therapists, respiratory therapists and speech therapists who fill a vital role in their communities."

The report acknowledged the passion for their work and dedication to the care of their clients. The panel made recommendations to improve the workplace culture at the Erie-St. Clair CCAC.

"ONA will do its best to improve care for patients in the communities," said Haslam-Stroud. "We have a blueprint going forward and will count on this employer to implement all of the recommendations. Patients deserve no less."

ONA is the union representing 60,000 front-line RNs and allied health professionals and more than 14,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in Ontario hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, industry and clinics.

Visit us at: www.ona.org; Facebook.com/OntarioNurses; Twitter.com/OntarioNurses

SOURCE Ontario Nurses' Association

For further information: Ontario Nurses' Association, Sheree Bond, (416) 964-8833, ext. 2430, cell: (416) 986-8240, shereeb@ona.org; Melanie Levenson, (416) 964-8833 ext. 2369, melaniel@ona.org