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.

Faux, the administrator at Burnbrae Gardens, says she’s applauding the province’s March 3 announcement that it will be funding new in-house NPs over the next three years, with the first 15 to be funded this year.

Since the Campbellford long-term care home began accessing NPs through the Central East Local Health Integration Network’s (LHIN’s) Nurse Practitioners Supporting Teams Averting Transfers (NPSTAT) initiative Faux says hospital transfers have been reduced and a NPs Dmitri Goold and Jeff Gardner are providing residents with treatments typically administered in hospital.

“The NPs are able to come on site, address (the issue) and get the orders, so it is a seamless transition,” Faux tells the OMNIway.

Through NPSTAT, NPs visit long-term care homes in the Central East LHIN to provide on-site care to residents with 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.

As part of the government 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.

Faux says the focus on expanding the number of NPs in Ontario has potential to enhance long-term care across the province.

“The main thing is (that more) residents will not have to go to hospital; they can stay in their own home for simple procedures,” she says.

An upcoming OMNIway story will feature the Burnbrae Gardens team’s thoughts on the educational value NPs bring to long-term care homes.

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