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.
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