Attending Nurse Practitioners will improve care for seniors in long-term care

TORONTO, Sept. 24, 2015 /CNW/ - Seniors in nursing homes and their loved ones can expect a higher level of care now that Ontario is making good on its promise to add Attending Nurse Practitioners to staffing complements in long-term care.

Details of the long-awaited plan were announced today by Ontario's Associate Minister of Health Dipika Damerla. The announcement comes as welcome news for the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO), which represents the province's registered nurses (RN), nurse practitioners (NP) and nursing students, and was the catalyst for this important human resources policy.

Under the ministry's plan, 30 NPs will begin practising as Attending Nurse Practitioners at 41 Ontario nursing homes this fall. They will have responsibility for the complete care needs of each resident in the home, and will work in collaboration with other health providers including RNs, registered practical nurses and personal support workers to ensure round the clock care for seniors.

"This is a great day for residents and their families. Seniors deserve to live in an environment that fully meets their needs and this announcement helps achieve that," says Doris Grinspun, RNAO's chief executive officer, adding "Attending NPs will provide faster assessment and treatment, reduce unnecessary transfers to emergency rooms, treat chronic conditions, and dedicate time for health promotion."

Nurse practitioners are registered nurses with advanced education and decision-making knowledge and skills to diagnose, treat illnesses and injuries, prescribe medications, as well as order lab tests, x-rays and other diagnostics.

RNAO's President Vanessa Burkoski, herself an NP, says the news that the ministry is moving ahead is a positive development for the long-term care sector which deserves more attention. "One of the critical things that has been lacking in long-term care is timely assessment and treatment, as well as comprehensive care, and NPs will now be able to provide that level of care in a timely manner. I have no doubt that we will see better health outcomes among seniors once Attending NPs are in place."  

The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses, nurse practitioners and nursing students in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses' contribution in shaping the health-care system, and influence decisions that affect nurses and members of the public they serve.

For more information about RNAO, visit our website at RNAO.ca. You can also check out our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter.

SOURCE Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

For further information: If you would like to interview an NP or RN on this or any health issue, please contact: Marion Zych, Director of Communications, RNAO, Cell: 647-406-5605/Office: 416-408-5605, Toll free: 1-800-268-7199 ext. 209, mzych@RNAO.ca; Daniel Punch, Communications Officer/Writer, Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario, 416-408-5606, dpunch@RNAO.ca

RELATED LINKS
http://www.rnao.org

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