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.

Administrator April Faux says the two NPs who visit the Campbellford long-term care home as part of the Central East Local Health Integration Network’s (LHIN’s) Nurse Practitioners Supporting Teams Averting Transfers (NPSTAT) program have been helpful in providing training to front-line staff and others to enhance resident care.

NPs Jeffrey Gardner and Dmitri Goold, she says, have helped the home save time and prevented staff members from “reinventing the wheel” when it comes to providing staff education.

For example, Goold has prepared slideshows for staff training which clearly explain interventions that nurses and personal support workers are able to provide but may not know about. Faux notes Goold has, for instance, trained staff members on why urinary tract infections happen and how to prevent them.

Goold has also provided training at Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) educational sessions at Burnbrae Gardens.

“And because (Goold’s information) is in basic, non-nursing terms, everyone can easily understand it,” Faux says.

RN Maureen Withers recalls how Gardner was helpful when it was discovered some female residents were developing skin irritation when a wash cloth was applied. Gardner did research and learned that the product contained silver nitrate which was irritating skin surfaces. Staff members immediately stopped using the product.

“An NP is always available to us — and that’s a nice thing,” Withers says.

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, NPs can order antibiotics for infections.

On March 3, Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews announced the province will be funding new, in-house 75 NPs for long-term care homes over the next three years. 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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