Cassellholme Home for the Aged Staffing Issues: Nurses' Concerns Confirmed by
External Committee

NORTH BAY, ON, April 7 /CNW/ - The Independent Assessment Committee investigating concerns expressed by registered nurses at Cassellholme Home for the Aged has provided recommendations that confirm that registered nurses have been required to perform more work than is consistent with proper resident care.

"Registered nurses have a professional obligation to provide safe resident care," notes ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "We are very pleased that the Independent Assessment Committee has heard the evidence and acknowledged ONA nurses' concerns - and made 25 recommendations to improve the ability of RNs to provide safe, quality care to Cassellholme residents."

The Independent Assessment Committee (IAC) is a panel of three experts who conducted a hearing into the concerns of the RNs in early February. After considering the evidence, the IAC concluded that the current organization structure, corporate culture and role responsibilities of staff within the Clinical Services Department do not support effective use of the RNs. It has:

    -   Recommended an increase in both registered nursing and registered
        practical nursing staffing levels;
    -   Recommended that RN care hours be increased and that RPN staffing be
    -   Recommended that a care delivery model be put in place, and that the
        management structure be revised;
    -   Made a series of recommendations related to roles and
        responsibilities (including staffing and scheduling), leadership,
        quality care, culture and communication.

RNs working at Cassellholme have encountered inadequate staffing of full- and part-time nurses, unfilled vacancies on work schedules, the failure to replace RNs, heavy workloads and a high volume of assigned non-nursing duties taking them away from resident care. These were compounded by a very high staff turnover rate.

"We very much look forward to working together with this employer to put in place these changes and ensure our residents receive the care they so deserve," said Haslam-Stroud.

ONA is the union representing 55,000 front-line registered nurses and allied health professionals and more than 12,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in Ontario hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community and industry.

SOURCE Ontario Nurses' Association

For further information: For further information: Ontario Nurses' Association, Sheree Bond, (416) 964-8833 ext. 2430, Cellular: (416) 986-8240

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