Registered Nurses' Concerns Verified: Independent panel makes multiple recommendations to improve patient care at PRHC

PETERBOROUGH, ON, Jan. 13, 2012 /CNW/ - The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) says the findings of the Independent Assessment Committee (IAC) show that the concerns of registered nurses about declining patient care in Peterborough Regional Health Centre's haemodialysis unit were valid.

Following careful analysis of the report, ONA concludes that the panel's 37 recommendations to improve care are evidence-based and supported by the literature and show that PRHC failed to plan properly for a change in the skills mix of nurses in the unit.

"The IAC recommendations show that not only was inadequate planning carried out, but also that the hospital made staffing decisions based on balancing the budget and failed to evaluate whether changes to the skills mix were impacting patient care, or our RNs' ability to provide safe care that meets their professional standards," said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN.

The IAC issued a total of 37 recommendations in the areas of nursing leadership, measures and evaluation, communications, staffing levels and skills mix. There were also recommendations around patient safety - the RNs who called in the Independent Assessment Committee believe that changes to the unit's staffing model had resulted in an increased risk to patient care.

"While we're pleased to see the IAC recognized the lack of management, planning, patient safety and general inadequacies in this unit because of the hospital's decisions, what's most important now is that PRHC take immediate action to correct the problems that are affecting hemodialysis patients in Peterborough," said Haslam-Stroud. "ONA is anxious to work with the hospital immediately to correct the issues that have led us to this situation.

"ONA commends our members at Peterborough Regional Health Centre for the very strong patient advocacy role that they've played. It's been challenging to have their concerns for patient care taken seriously but the patients and people of Peterborough deserve better."

An Independent Assessment Committee - or IAC - addresses the professional workload complaints of registered nurses. A hearing is called only when the nurses and management have attempted at length to settle workload issues internally. An IAC hearing is a last-resort effort to determine whether nurses are being assigned more work than is consistent with the provision of proper patient care.

ONA is the union representing 58,000 front-line RNs and allied health professionals and more than 13,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in Ontario hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, industry and clinics.

SOURCE Ontario Nurses' Association

For further information:

  Ontario Nurses' Association
Sheree Bond     (416) 964-1979, ext. 2430; cell (416) 986-8240;
Melanie Levenson    (416) 964-1979, ext. 2267;

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