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Nurse-practitioner funding a win-win for LTC, hospitals

Lakeridge Health lead nurse practitioner Michelle Acorn discusses the changing roles of NPs at a March 6 conference.

Lakeridge Health lead nurse practitioner Michelle Acorn discusses the changing roles of NPs at a March 6 conference.

Province’s move will enhance quality care for residents while reducing strain on hospitals

Monday, March 24, 2014 — Deron Hamel

TORONTO – The province’s decision to fund 75 new, in-house nurse practitioners (NPs) in Ontario’s 630 long-term care homes will benefit both the senior-care and hospital sectors, say stakeholders.

The Ontario government announced March 3 it will be funding the NPs over the next three years to add to the staffing mix in the province’s long-term care sector. The first 15 NPs will be funded this year.

By having on-site NPs, more long-term-care home residents will be able to have their care needs met in their home, avoiding hospital transfers which can have a detrimental impact on their quality of life, says Michelle Acorn, NP lead at Lakeridge Health in Oshawa.

Acorn says NPs are well-suited to work in long-term care homes. NPs, as part of their training, learn about disease processes, disease prevention, how medications work and how to adjust to patients’ unique situations, such as heart, kidney and liver disease, she explains.

Treating people in homes also mitigates the risk of residents getting hospital-acquired infections, Acorn told the OMNIway, during a recent Ontario Hospital Association conference in Toronto.

“(NPs) are experienced registered nurses with additional education and they are a solution for many things,” Acorn says. “They know how to look after all ages and stages of health; they know how to look after seniors as well.”

Since 2010, NPs have been regularly visiting OMNI Health Care homes in the Central East Local Health Integration Network’s (LHIN’s) catchment area as part of the LHIN’s Nurse Practitioners Supporting Teams Averting Transfers (NPSTAT) program.

These homes include Pleasant Meadow Manor, Frost Manor, Springdale Country Manor, Streamway Villa and Burnbrae Gardens.

Pleasant Meadow Manor clinical care/RAI co-ordinator Susan Towns says many of the Norwood long-term care home’s residents have been able to avoid hospital transfers, thanks to having access to an NP.

Like Acorn, Towns says the province’s decision to fund NPs in long-term care homes spells good news for both the long-term care and acute-care sectors.

“I think it’s absolutely wonderful that they’re going to increase the number of nurse practitioners available to (long-term care homes),” she says. “(Nurse practitioners) have been an absolute asset to our home.”

Burnbrae Gardens administrator April Faux adds: “The main thing is (that more) residents will not have to go to hospital; they can stay in their own home for simple procedures.”

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 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.

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

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. Read more

NP announcement ‘exciting,’ says Frost Manor nurse

FrostManor

Nancy Lafete commends province for funding 75 in-house NPs over three years

March 12, 2014 — Deron Hamel

When long-term care residents need medical attention that cannot be provided by in-house nursing staff, they often need to be transferred to hospital. But when homes have access to a nurse practitioner (NP) this transfer is usually avoided — and the more transfers can be avoided the better, says Nancy Lafete.

Lafete, a charge nurse at Frost Manor, says the province’s March 3 announcement that 75 in-house NPs will be funded over the next three years is “exciting” news for Ontario long-term care homes. More NPs, she says, will help enhance quality of life for residents.

She has seen the strong value NPs bring to residents through Frost Manor’s involvement with the Central East Local Health Integration Network’s (LHIN’s) Nurse Practitioners Supporting Teams Averting Transfers (NPSTAT) program.

For about four years, the Lindsay long-term care home’s residents requiring medical treatment normally provided in hospital have had access to NP Sarah Reynolds through the initiative.

The result, says Lafete, has been that residents get to remain in their home for treatment.

“It’s really nice to have that support,” Lafete says. “The residents . . . stay comfortable here in their own surroundings; (the program) is working very well.”

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.

Michelle Acorn, the NP lead at Lakeridge Health in Oshawa, says the province’s announcement is good news for long-term care homes across Ontario.

She adds that NPs are a good fit for the long-term care sector.

“They know how to look after all ages and stages of health; they know how to look after seniors as well,” she says.

NPs are also focused on preventative care. When residents experience urinary tract infections, falls or wounds, NP’s will examine the causes and suggest measures that can be taken to prevent future occurrences, Acorn notes.

As part of the funding, long-term care homes that successfully apply but are unable to recruit an NP 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 NPs.

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, please contact newsroom at 800-294-0051800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.