Nurses call in Independent Assessment Committee to review Post Acute Care Unit
TORONTO, Jan. 6, 2014 /CNW/ - Registered nurses (RNs) have identified continuing professional practice and workload concerns affecting patient care at Rouge Valley Health System's post-acute care unit. The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) members have now taken the next step and called in an Independent Assessment Committee to examine RN staffing levels and make recommendations.
The Independent Assessment Committee, or IAC, is a panel of three nursing experts who will conduct a hearing into the post-acute care unit. The panel will hear evidence from Rouge Valley Health System nurses about the negative impact on patient care caused by inadequate RN staffing levels. The panel sits from January 7 to 9, 2014 and will make recommendations to resolve any issues.
ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN, says that "registered nurses have a professional obligation to notify the hospital when they cannot provide safe patient care. RNs in the post acute care unit say the hospital has replaced half the RN and RPN positions in the unit with unregulated care providers, leaving the nurse to patient ratios unsafe, unmanageable and dangerous for patients."
Haslam-Stroud says that patients in the unit are post-acute care, but have complex medical issues with multiple health conditions that require the skills of nurses. "They need the broad scope of practice, skills and experience that RNs bring to the table," she says.
ONA has repeatedly tried to find solutions with Rouge Valley Health System, but the efforts have repeatedly failed. Haslam-Stroud suspects that balancing the budget has taken precedence at the expense of the care patients receive. RNs have consistently provided written documentation to hospital administrators to outline their inability to properly and safely provide patient care to patients in the post acute care unit; the hospital has continued to refuse to staff the department with an appropriate number of RNs.
The IAC is tasked with determining whether nurses are being assigned more work than is consistent with the provision of proper patient care.
"It is unfair to patients and to the RNs and RPNs to not have the appropriate number of regulated healthcare workers providing care," says Haslam-Stroud. "Patients deserve to have professional nursing care to ensure positive health outcomes."
ONA is the union representing 60,000 registered nurses and allied health professionals, as well as more than 14,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.
SOURCE: Ontario Nurses' Association
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