TORONTO, Oct. 17, 2014 /CNW/ - The measures announced today by Ontario's Health Minister to deal with potential Ebola cases are evidence that we have learned lessons from SARS. The minister's announcement positions Ontario at the forefront of Canadian jurisdictions in preparing for a confirmed case of Ebola — should it arise — say members of the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO).
"We thank Minister Eric Hoskins for listening and acting swiftly," says RNAO's Chief Executive Officer Doris Grinspun, adding Hoskins' actions today demonstrate that he is genuine and is a leader.
Such measures include: requiring two nurses to provide care to each patient at all times, and a directive that these nurses not be asked to provide care to other people. Another measure recommended by RNAO is the requirement that a qualified individual be assigned to oversee proper procedures for putting on and removing the personal protective equipments (PPE) nurses will wear if caring for patients diagnosed with Ebola. RNAO argued this was essential, given the high risk of contamination to nurses, especially during the removal of PPE.
"RNAO had also urged that Chief Nurse Executives and Chief Nursing Officers be included in the leadership teams involved in the planning and execution of the province's plans and protocols — a measure we have been assured will be enacted," says RNAO President Vanessa Burkoski.
Grinspun stresses that "the only area where RNAO remains concerned is that primary care settings — including doctors' offices, community health centres, NP-led clinics, family health teams, walk-in clinics, and long-term care homes — are not part of the measures announced today." RNAO insists these sectors must be part of the province's overall plan and must also have clear protocols in place. "The minister has promised us that those directives are coming out shortly," says Grinspun.
Burkoski says "RNAO applauds its members for coming forward with their concerns about the levels of preparedness in their respective workplaces and related safety questions," adding that "we are here to listen and respond because the safety of health-care providers is essential to keep Ontarians safe."
RNAO says it will also continue to press the federal government to do more to help affected African countries to contain the spread of Ebola. "This is the right thing to do," adds Grinspun.
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 to shaping the health-care system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.
SOURCE: Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario
For further information: To arrange an interview, please contact: Marion Zych, Director of Communications, RNAO, Cell: 647-406-5605 / Phone: 416-408-5605, mzych@RNAO.ca