EDMONTON, Oct. 8, 2014 /CNW/ - The College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA) appreciates the progress noted in the Auditor-General's Report in the areas of process and administration in long-term care but is seriously concerned about the lack of monitoring at the resident level.
"The Auditor-General's report is a call to action with respect to long-term care in Alberta," says CARNA president Shannon Spenceley. "There has been good progress in terms of ensuring that long-term care residents have care plans but care plans need to be implemented and monitored. Registered nurses are responsible for planning, implementing and evaluating care plans yet there has been a steady reduction in registered nurse staffing levels in long-term care. It is difficult to fully implement care plans without sufficient nursing leadership to lead the care team, ensure accuracy in the assessment of complex care needs, supervise and support health care aides in care provision, and ensure that good basic care is being provided every day of the week."
The Auditor-General's report acknowledges that the care needs of a typical long-term care resident have increased significantly over the last several decades as people with fewer care needs access home care and supportive living services, leaving the more challenging cases to the long-term care facilities. The report also highlights the importance of avoiding hospitalizations by meeting the complex care needs of seniors within long-term care facilities rather than in the acute care system which is not designed to meet their unique needs. Specifically, the report recommends developing a system to monitor care at the resident level.
"We strongly support the Auditor-General's report when it states that staffing is the cornerstone of good resident care," says CARNA CEO Mary-Anne Robinson. "Given the increased complexity in the health needs of long-term care residents, it may be time to revisit the staffing levels in the Nursing Home Act Regulations and increase the registered nurse presence in long-term care. You really do need the right staff available at the right time to deliver the right care."
One of the recommendations made in the report is to clarify oversight in long-term care. There is confusion regarding the roles and responsibilities of Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services with respect to monitoring and managing long-term care service delivery. The province is also urged to finish the review of the continuing care health service standards.
"We fully support the Auditor-General's recommendation to complete the review of the continuing care health service standards," says Spenceley. "It is very important to monitor compliance to provincial standards but there also needs to be proactive monitoring of the actual care being provided."
CARNA is the professional and regulatory body for Alberta's more than 35,000 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
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