TORONTO, Sept. 24, 2015 /CNW/ - Today's announcement by Dipika Damerla, Associate Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, of new nurse practitioners in long term care homes is good news for the residents living in Ontario's homes.
"We applaud this step by the government," said Donna Rubin, CEO of the Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors (OANHSS). "With their broad clinical competencies, nurse practitioners complement the professional care team in supporting a resident population that has increasingly complex and challenging needs."
The province is providing funding for up to 75 new attending nurse practitioners in long term care homes over three years, including 30 starting this fall. Those 30 will be working in 41 long term care homes across the 14 Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs).
Nurse practitioners are registered nurses with additional nursing education and experience. They are able to order and interpret diagnostic tests, communicate diagnoses, prescribe pharmaceuticals and perform specific procedures. Nurse practitioners also provide an important leadership role in the areas of research, education and staff training.
"There have been some nurse practitioners in long term care through pilot programs, but this initiative will open the door for more homes to benefit from their expertise," said Rubin. "Our members who have access to a nurse practitioner speak very highly about the value of this role, particularly in reducing hospitalizations and enhancing staff confidence and capacity in caring for residents with complex conditions."
OANHSS' analysis of clinical data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) for the period of January 2010 to March 2014 revealed that on average 41% of long term care residents have six or more formal diagnoses and that group is growing at a rate of 6% per year.
The Association has long advocated for expanding the role of nurse practitioners in long term care as a key step in strengthening the quality of care for residents. OANHSS will be working with the government and other stakeholders on the implementation and evaluation of this initiative and the roll out of the remaining 45 positions.
OANHSS is the provincial association representing not-for-profit providers of long term care, services and housing for seniors. Members include not-for-profit long term care homes (municipal, charitable and non-profit nursing homes), seniors' housing, supportive housing, and community service agencies. Member organizations serve over 36,000 long term care residents annually and operate over 8,000 seniors' housing units across the province.
SOURCE Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors (OANHSS)
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