More Nurse Practitioners Good News for Long Term Care Residents
Toronto, Ontario (March 3, 2014) – Today Deb Matthews, the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, announced a plan that will expand the number of nurse practitioners in long term care homes.
“We applaud this step by the government,” said Donna Rubin, CEO of the Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors (OANHSS). “With their broad clinical competencies, nurse practitioners complement the professional care team in supporting a resident population that has increasingly complex and challenging needs.”
Over the next three years, the province will fund 75 new nurse practitioner positions in long term care homes with the first 15 this year, 30 in 2015 and 30 in 2016. Currently there are 18 nurse practitioners caring for residents in 22 long term care homes.
Nurse practitioners are registered nurses with additional nursing education and experience. They are able to order and interpret diagnostic tests, communicate diagnoses, prescribe pharmaceuticals and perform specific procedures. Nurse practitioners also provide an important leadership role in the areas of research, education and staff training.
“There have been some nurse practitioners in long term care through pilot programs, but this initiative will open the door for many more homes to benefit from their expertise,” said Rubin. “Our members who have access to a nurse practitioner speak very highly about the value of this role, particularly in reducing hospitalizations and enhancing staff confidence and capacity in caring for residents with complex conditions.”
OANHSS’ analysis of clinical data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) for the period of January 2010 to March 2013 revealed that on average 40% of long term care residents have six or more formal diagnoses and that group is growing at a rate of 8% per year.
The Association has long advocated for expanding the role of nurse practitioners in long term care as a key step in strengthening the quality of care for residents. OANHSS will be working with the government and other stakeholders to develop a role description for nurse practitioners that will help guide the implementation of this initiative.
OANHSS is the provincial association representing not-for-profit providers of long term care, services and housing for seniors. Members include municipal and charitable long term care homes, non-profit nursing homes, seniors’ housing projects and community service agencies. Member organizations operate over 27,000 long term care beds and over 8,000 seniors’ housing units across the province.
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