Nurse-practitioner funding a win-win for LTC, hospitals

Lakeridge Health lead nurse practitioner Michelle Acorn discusses the changing roles of NPs at a March 6 conference.

Lakeridge Health lead nurse practitioner Michelle Acorn discusses the changing roles of NPs at a March 6 conference.

Province’s move will enhance quality care for residents while reducing strain on hospitals

Monday, March 24, 2014 — Deron Hamel

TORONTO – The province’s decision to fund 75 new, in-house nurse practitioners (NPs) in Ontario’s 630 long-term care homes will benefit both the senior-care and hospital sectors, say stakeholders.

The Ontario government announced March 3 it will be funding the NPs over the next three years to add to the staffing mix in the province’s long-term care sector. The first 15 NPs will be funded this year.

By having on-site NPs, more long-term-care home residents will be able to have their care needs met in their home, avoiding hospital transfers which can have a detrimental impact on their quality of life, says Michelle Acorn, NP lead at Lakeridge Health in Oshawa.

Acorn says NPs are well-suited to work in long-term care homes. NPs, as part of their training, learn about disease processes, disease prevention, how medications work and how to adjust to patients’ unique situations, such as heart, kidney and liver disease, she explains.

Treating people in homes also mitigates the risk of residents getting hospital-acquired infections, Acorn told the OMNIway, during a recent Ontario Hospital Association conference in Toronto.

“(NPs) are experienced registered nurses with additional education and they are a solution for many things,” Acorn says. “They know how to look after all ages and stages of health; they know how to look after seniors as well.”

Since 2010, NPs have been regularly visiting OMNI Health Care homes in the Central East Local Health Integration Network’s (LHIN’s) catchment area as part of the LHIN’s Nurse Practitioners Supporting Teams Averting Transfers (NPSTAT) program.

These homes include Pleasant Meadow Manor, Frost Manor, Springdale Country Manor, Streamway Villa and Burnbrae Gardens.

Pleasant Meadow Manor clinical care/RAI co-ordinator Susan Towns says many of the Norwood long-term care home’s residents have been able to avoid hospital transfers, thanks to having access to an NP.

Like Acorn, Towns says the province’s decision to fund NPs in long-term care homes spells good news for both the long-term care and acute-care sectors.

“I think it’s absolutely wonderful that they’re going to increase the number of nurse practitioners available to (long-term care homes),” she says. “(Nurse practitioners) have been an absolute asset to our home.”

Burnbrae Gardens administrator April Faux adds: “The main thing is (that more) residents will not have to go to hospital; they can stay in their own home for simple procedures.”

As part of the funding, long-term care homes that successfully apply for NP funding but are unable to recruit one will be able to access the province’s new Grow Your Own Nurse Practitioner in Long-Term Care program.

Once launched in 2015-16, this initiative will support homes in providing registered nurses with the education and training to become nurse practitioners.

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

More nurse practitioners equal stronger LTC sector, says administrator

NPs also positioned to train front-line staff

The Ontario government’s plan to provide funding for 75 new, in-house nurse practitioners (NPs) in long-term care homes over the next three years is another step towards enhancing quality in long-term care homes, says Village Green administrator Linda Pierce.

Pierce notes how the Greater Napanee long-term care home already has an NP who visits when residents have care needs that are beyond front-line staff members’ scope of practice but do not warrant a transfer to hospital. The NP is accessed by the home through the South East Local Health Integration Network (LHIN).

Although there is a physician who regularly visits Village Green, Pierce says there are those times when he cannot tend to a resident at a moment’s notice. This is where the NP steps in.

NPs visit long-term care homes to provide on-site care for medical issues that front-line staff members are unable to treat. Some of their work includes writing prescriptions for antibiotics, administering IV therapies, doing post-fall assessments and performing G-tube reinsertions.

Based on the value the NP is bringing to residents and staff members, Pierce says more NPs in the sector would enhance quality exponentially.

Additionally, Pierce notes that NPs are positioned to help train front-line staff members to enhance their skills.

“That will be a value to all long-term care homes,” Pierce says. “I think (more NPs) will be supportive to the homes because it will mean an additional player on the team. . . . It’s going to support the residents and lead right back to enhancing their quality of life.”

As part of the funding, long-term care homes that successfully apply for NP funding but are unable to recruit one will be able to access Ontario’s new Grow Your Own Nurse Practitioner in Long-Term Care program.

Once launched in 2015-16, this initiative will support homes in providing registered nurses with the education and training to become nurse practitioners.

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, please contact newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

Village Green raises $1,700 for Operation Warm Toes

Village Green administrator Linda Pierce recently shaved her head in support of Operation Warm Toes.

Village Green administrator Linda Pierce recently shaved her head in support of Operation Warm Toes.

Administrator Linda Pierce makes good on fundraising promise and shaves her head

Thursday, March 20, 2014 — Deron Hamel

Linda Pierce knew her shaved head would not be conducive to this bitterly cold winter, however, she says cutting off her hair was a small price to pay to contribute to the greater good.

Pierce, the administrator at Village Green, had her head shaved in January as part of her promise to staff members at the Selby, Ont. long-term care home for raising $1,700 for Operation Warm Toes, a yearly fundraising initiative in Greater Napanee to buy snow boots for children from low-income families.

Village Green’s participation in the fundraiser helped contribute to the 330 pairs of boots bought for children in the community. All told, the project raised about $8,000 this year.

Pierce was approached in December by staff members who wanted the home to participate in a fundraiser that would make a difference in the community. Pierce chose Operation Warm Toes and told staff members that if they raised $1,000 in two weeks she would shave off her hair in front of her co-workers, residents and their families.

The team found creative ways to raise money, even going to local media outlets to announce the fundraiser, in addition to having family and friends donate. The team sent e-mails to OMNI Health Care’s other 17 long-term care homes to garner donations, and many of Village Green’s suppliers also gave money, Pierce notes. “I was really impressed with how (staff members) engaged the different resources in order to make this happen.”

Aside from raising money for a worthy cause, Pierce says the fundraiser proved to be an excellent team-building exercise.

“The team members were really empowered and worked together well,” she says.

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, please contact newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

NPs are a valuable educational resource for LTC staff

Burnbrae Gardens team members discuss how NPs are sharing knowledge

The value nurse practitioners (NPs) bring to long-term care homes has been discussed extensively by the OMNIway recently, but as Burnbrae Gardens team members point out these health-care professionals also bring valuable educational resources to homes. Read more

Rights and safety top of mind when residents pursue relationships

Safety and Sexuality Lead Image Mar 18 2014

Team members discuss how they support residents

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 — Deron Hamel

A recent OMNIway series explored the issue of resident relationships in long-term care homes. While different situations arise in different homes, OMNI Health Care homes uphold a common focus on people’s rights and ensuring safety.

Long-term care residents have every right to pursue relationships in their homes. But while finding love in a long-term care home is a right, ethical arise at times. When this happens, staff members are prepared to work with the situation.

For instance, questions arise when a resident with dementia is approached by another resident and it’s unclear whether the first resident would welcome those advances.

“It’s hard because you want to give people as much freedom as consenting people but you still have to protect the people who may not be able to say no,” Rosebridge Manor life enrichment co-ordinator Kathy Barr says.

“Every case is so very individualized and all the team members have to sit together and bring in an outside body to help if it’s something where there’s an ethical dilemma.”

When the questionable cases arise, Rosebridge involves its ethics committee and solicits the help of Debora Steele. Steele is a Kingston-based psychogeriatric resource consultant for Lanark, Leeds and Grenville.

Then there’s the potential issue of residents making unwanted advances towards other residents. This can happen as a result of a resident having cognitive impairment. Although this hasn’t been an issue at Pleasant Meadow Manor, administrator and director of care Sandra Tucker says that if this did happen the home’s staff members are prepared.

Firstly, she says, the team would look to OMNI’s Supportive Measures program, which is focused on providing people with individualized care.

For example, if a staff member saw a resident making unwanted advances towards someone else they might approach the resident and talk about a subject of interest to change their focus. Or a staff member might suggest the resident join them for a walk, Tucker says.

Like Barr, Tucker says residents’ rights must always be protected and, in the case of consenting residents, there would be no intervention.

“We work at the residents’ home; they don’t live at our work,” Tucker says. “If there are two consenting adults wishing to have a relationship, who are we to interfere with that?”

However, grey areas can sometimes arise.

There have been occasions in long-term care homes where both residents consent to a relationship but their families object.

Woodland Villa administrator Mike Rasenberg says if this situation arises the home will side with the residents. In one case, Rasenberg says residents approached staff to say, “our rights aren’t being respected here.”

“They (were) right,” Rasenberg says, adding the situation was corrected. “We talked about their rights and set some parameters from a safety aspect and it’s worked out well.”

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

More NPs in LTC will build upon individualized care: administrator

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Maureen King commends province for announcement

March 17, 2014 — Deron Hamel

The 75 new, in-house long-term care nurse practitioners (NPs) the province has promised to fund over the next three years will play an important part in strengthening individualized, person-centred care in the sector, says Maureen King.

Nurse practitioners, says Springdale Country Manor’s administrator, “are phenomenal” for the long-term care sector because they can address many unique resident-care issues that need immediate attention. Residents are used to having this type of person-centred care, King adds.

Having accessed NPs through the Central East Local Health Integration Network’s Nurse Practitioners Supporting Teams Averting Transfers (NPSTAT) program, King says she has seen first-hand the difference timely, in-house care makes to the Peterborough-area long-term care home’s residents.

Through NPSTAT, NPs visit long-term care homes in the LHIN’s catchment area to provide on-site care for medical issues that front-line staff members are unable to treat. Some of their work includes writing prescriptions for antibiotics, administering IV therapies, doing post-fall assessments and performing G-tube reinsertions.

“Physicians have full practices and we’re looking for an answer in a timely manner — as in right now — and (without access to an NP)  we’re mostly told that we have to wait until the end of the physician’s work day which could be hours and hours,” King explains.

“It is nice to have someone in the situations that we deal with to come now because that is their role. It’s also good that we are not sending people to emergency rooms. It’s very upsetting for our residents if we have to send them to hospital.”

While a hospital visit can negatively impact the quality of life for anyone, it can be especially traumatic for a person living with a cognitive impairment — and a significant portion of the long-term care resident population consists of people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, King notes.

In addition to being added to long-term care homes’ staffing mixes, NPs can soon expect to see their scope of practice expanded. Through Bill 179, the federal government has approved NPs to prescribe more medications and order most lab tests. The next step is for the provinces to approve the legislation.

Click here to read more about the Ontario government’s announcement.

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, please contact newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

Chris Weber named OSNM Kawarthas representative

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Nutrition and food-services manager hoping to bring shared experiences to OMNI

Friday, March 14, 2014 — Deron Hamel

Chris Weber has a long track record of dedication to food-services management, and this focus has led to him being named the Ontario Society of Nutrition Management’s (OSNM’s) Kawarthas chapter representative.

The OSNM is an organization dedicated to promoting the profession of nutrition management through education and advocacy in Ontario. Weber, OMNI Health Care’s nutrition and food services manager, says he hopes to build a network of new colleagues within the food-services industry through his position.

Weber adds that being a player in the OSNM will introduce him to many others with key interests in nutritional management and health care.

“I’m also really excited to bring the shared experiences back to OMNI,” he says.

Weber has been connected to the OSNM in the past, having attended the organization’s events. When he saw there was a vacancy for a Kawarthas representative, Weber says it was a “perfect opportunity” to enhance his career as a nutritional manager and to further his interest in the field.

“I contacted (OSNM president) Matthew Bombardier (about taking the position) and he thought it was a great idea, so I gave him more information about myself and my background and he welcomed me in and appointed me as the Area E Kawarthas region chapter representative,” Weber explains.

In this role, Weber will reach out to other nutritional managers in the community to bolster OSNM membership.

“This is exciting for me because it’s my first time as a board member, and I’m really excited about making new friends within the industry,” he says.

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, please contact newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

More LTC NPs will pave way for enhanced seniors care

Burnbrae Gardens’ participation in NPSTAT one example of reduced hospital transfers

Having access to a nurse practitioner (NP) is enhancing quality of life for residents living at Burnbrae Gardens, and by adding 75 new NPs to Ontario long-term care homes, the province is paving the way for better seniors’ health care while reducing burden on emergency rooms, says April Faux. Read more

NP announcement ‘exciting,’ says Frost Manor nurse

FrostManor

Nancy Lafete commends province for funding 75 in-house NPs over three years

March 12, 2014 — Deron Hamel

When long-term care residents need medical attention that cannot be provided by in-house nursing staff, they often need to be transferred to hospital. But when homes have access to a nurse practitioner (NP) this transfer is usually avoided — and the more transfers can be avoided the better, says Nancy Lafete.

Lafete, a charge nurse at Frost Manor, says the province’s March 3 announcement that 75 in-house NPs will be funded over the next three years is “exciting” news for Ontario long-term care homes. More NPs, she says, will help enhance quality of life for residents.

She has seen the strong value NPs bring to residents through Frost Manor’s involvement with the Central East Local Health Integration Network’s (LHIN’s) Nurse Practitioners Supporting Teams Averting Transfers (NPSTAT) program.

For about four years, the Lindsay long-term care home’s residents requiring medical treatment normally provided in hospital have had access to NP Sarah Reynolds through the initiative.

The result, says Lafete, has been that residents get to remain in their home for treatment.

“It’s really nice to have that support,” Lafete says. “The residents . . . stay comfortable here in their own surroundings; (the program) is working very well.”

NPs visit long-term care homes to provide on-site care for medical issues that front-line staff members are unable to treat. Some of their work includes writing prescriptions for antibiotics, administering IV therapies, doing post-fall assessments and performing G-tube reinsertions.

Michelle Acorn, the NP lead at Lakeridge Health in Oshawa, says the province’s announcement is good news for long-term care homes across Ontario.

She adds that NPs are a good fit for the long-term care sector.

“They know how to look after all ages and stages of health; they know how to look after seniors as well,” she says.

NPs are also focused on preventative care. When residents experience urinary tract infections, falls or wounds, NP’s will examine the causes and suggest measures that can be taken to prevent future occurrences, Acorn notes.

As part of the funding, long-term care homes that successfully apply but are unable to recruit an NP will be able to access the province’s new Grow Your Own Nurse Practitioner in Long-Term Care program.

Once launched in 2015-16, this initiative will support homes in providing registered nurses with the education and training to become NPs.

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, please contact newsroom at 800-294-0051800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

Evacusleds could ‘save a lot of lives’ in emergencies: PSW

 

Willows Estate fire-safety team members prepare to move a volunteer on a mattress fitted with an Evacusled during a mock evacuation.

Willows Estate fire-safety team members prepare to move a volunteer on a mattress fitted with an Evacusled during a mock evacuation.

Willows fire-safety team member attests to value of new devices

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 — Deron Hamel

If a fire ever broke out in a long-term care home equipped with Evacusleds, the devices would “save a lot of lives,” says Willows Estate personal support worker (PSW) and fire-safety team member Hayley Barclay.

Barclay spoke to the OMNIway days after the Aurora long-term care home completed its first-ever vertical evacuation — bringing people down flights of stairs — during a fire drill on Feb. 28.

Evacusleds are devices with tiny wheels that fit under bed mattresses. In an emergency, staff members can rush into the rooms of residents who have Evacusleds, lift residents to the floor without getting them out of bed, and pull them across the floor to safety in short order.

“I think the value of the Evacusleds is priceless,” Barclay says, adding the team only had two weeks of training with the devices before the mock evacuation. “The (Evacusleds are) great; they’re easy to use and easy to explain to people.”

Not only did the fire-safety team safely “rescue” 42 resident and staff-member volunteers in an exercise that ran smoothly, they did it in only 26 minutes, a feat Central York Fire Services (CYFS) Capt. Ryan Schell says is “unheard-of.”

“That even blew my mind,” says Barclay of the team’s success. “I didn’t think we would be able to do it in that amount of time.”

Willows Estate is the first long-term care home in the Newmarket-Aurora region that CYFS has seen use Evacusleds, says Schell. Willows Estate recently bought 12 of the devices.

Before the alarm was sounded to start the evacuation, Barclay says she was feeling anxiety, but as soon as the drill began, she was focused and her fire-safety training kicked in. Having the Evacusleds made the exercise run smooth for the team, she adds.

Barclay says she recommends other long-term care homes invest in Evacusleds to enhance resident safety.

Aside from being excellent safety devices, Evacusleds are also comfortable, she adds. Even in the event of an emergency, residents whose beds are fitted with the devices would feel little disruption.

“I’ve been in an Evacusled and you don’t feel a thing, even going down stairs,” Barclay says.

Click here to watch a YouTube video of the evacuation.

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, please contact newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.