More health care professionals in long-term care will improve resident care

TORONTO, September 24, 2015 – The Associate Minister of Health and Long-Term Care has announced that 30 new nurse practitioners will be added to the care teams in long-term care homes this fall, which is excellent news for residents, said Candace Chartier, CEO of the Ontario Long Term Care Association.

Residents coming to long-term care are sicker and require more advanced care than in the past. Chartier, a registered nurse who worked for many years in long-term care, said nurse practitioners will provide “a new level of expertise to support the dedicated teams in Ontario’s long-term care homes.” 

Chartier praised the Ministry’s decision to increase the number of highly skilled health care professionals in long-term care homes. This is crucial, she said, as 93% of long-term care residents have two or more chronic illnesses and more than 62% of residents have dementia. Each resident needs an individualized plan that takes into account their unique challenges. In particular, many residents with dementia will resist staff’s attempts to provide care when they are confused, frightened, or agitated. In confusion or fear they may also do things that interfere with their care, such as pull out an intravenous line. 

“Long-term care requires a special type of sensitivity, teamwork, and personal knowledge of each resident,” Chartier said. “Placing these new nurse practitioners directly in our homes means that they’ll have a regular presence to build relationships with residents, families, and staff, and share their expertise in complex care.”

The Ontario Long Term Care Association has also asked the government for additional funding to expand the staff working with residents through an increase in the number of behavioural support teams based in long-term care homes. The team – typically a nurse and personal support worker – is trained in gentle, effective methods to help calm residents who are affected by behaviour such as agitation or aggression as the result of their dementia.    

"Continuing to fund more health care providers in long-term care homes will help to ensure that the 100,000 annual residents of Ontario’s long-term care homes receive the support and care they deserve,” Chartier said.

For more information:
Judy Irwin
Senior Manager, Communications
Ontario Long Term Care Association