Village Green

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.

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