Registered Nurses Respond to AG Report on Chronic Disease Management

EDMONTON, Sept. 9, 2014 /CNW/ - The College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA)  supports the recommendations of the Auditor General's Report on Chronic Disease Management, particularly its focus on a more robust care team. The report states that Alberta Health needs to focus on three key elements of chronic disease management: engaging patients in self-managing their condition, providing high quality healthcare supported by high quality information systems and developing an overarching strategy that focuses on chronic disease and coordinates the services for patients across Alberta's healthcare system.  

"The report articulates the insufficient number of non-physician health professionals in primary care to support patients with chronic disease but falls short in its lack of recognition of the contribution registered nurses and nurse practitioners make to chronic disease management," says CARNA president Shannon Spenceley. "It is disappointing that there is no current method to reflect the true impact other health team providers have on chronic disease management.  Yet, evidence shows that most successful chronic disease models have significant nursing involvement."

Registered nurses and nurse practitioners provide care for people with chronic disease throughout the health system.  Members of collaborative care teams, they develop care plans and coordinate resources for people with chronic disease in family care clinics, primary care networks, public health offices, home care and long-term care settings.  Nurse practitioners already have a broad authority to prescribe which equips them to play key roles in chronic disease management. 

"Registered nurses and nurse practitioners are experts in developing care plans and the fact that the majority of patients do not have care plans indicates a lack of RN and NP involvement," says CARNA CEO Mary-Anne Robinson.  "Further, the absence of care plans for nearly 80 per cent of chronic disease patients is an additional indication of lack of nursing support for these patients."  

CARNA is the professional and regulatory body for Alberta's more than 36,000 registered nurses, including nurses in direct care, education, research and administration as well as nurse practitioners. Its mandate is to protect the public by ensuring that Albertans receive effective, safe and ethical care by registered nurses.

SOURCE: College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta

For further information: Margaret Ward-Jack, tel: 780.453.0515, cell: 780.932.1376,


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