Home knows first-hand of benefits to LTC homes and hospitals
Thursday, March 6, 2014 — Deron Hamel
Pleasant Meadow Manor nursing administrative services manager Susan Towns is applauding the Ontario government’s recent announcement to invest in 75 nurse practitioners during the next three years who will tend to the needs of long-term care home residents.
Towns says the province’s decision will be beneficial to long-term care residents because more nurse practitioners means fewer home-to-hospital transfers, which can have a negative impact on those living in long-term care homes.
“I think it’s absolutely wonderful that they’re going to increase the number of nurse practitioners available to (long-term care homes),” Towns tells the OMNIway. “(Nurse practitioners) have been an absolute asset to our home.”
Nurse practitioners visit long-term care homes to provide on-site care for medical issues that front-line staff members are unable to treat. They can also prescribe some medications. For example, nurse practitioners can order antibiotics for infections. This, says Towns, is beneficial on two levels.
Firstly, residents needing additional treatment can remain at their long-term care homes, rather than having to deal with the stress of a hospital transfer. When a resident goes to hospital from a long-term care home it can create a lot of anxiety and worsen a person’s quality of life, especially if they end up waiting a long time to be seen, she says.
Secondly, because residents are able to remain at the home, there’s less emergency-room congestion, an issue facing the acute-care system.
Since 2010, a nurse practitioner has been regularly visiting Pleasant Meadow Manor as part of its involvement with the Central East Local Health Integration Network’s (LHIN’s) Nurse Practitioners Supporting Teams Averting Transfers (NPSTAT) program. Since then, Towns says many of the Norwood long-term care home’s residents have been able to avoid hospital transfers.
As part of the funding, long-term care homes that successfully apply for nurse practitioner 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.
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