TORONTO, Ont. — Fewer deaths, increased patient satisfaction, fewer falls, fewer bed sores, shorter lengths of stay are all documented benefits of a diversified nursing team observed in recent studies. “Ignoring this research on positive patient outcomes, to promote a single occupation as was recently done by Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) offends the skill and dedication and the healing work of tens of thousands of caregivers working in hospitals and long-term care and the positive impact they have on patient care,” says Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU).
A report issued by the RNAO which pushed to diminish or exclude other licensed, regulated caregivers in favour of only registered nurse (RN) care, “flies against recent evidence which suggest better patient outcomes from a team-based nursing approach that includes registered practical nurses (RPNs), personal support workers (PSWs), nurse-practitioners and RNs,” says Hurley.
Hospitals including Toronto’s Michael Garron Hospital (formerly Toronto East General Hospital) report high quality patient care and outcomes using a diversified nursing team approach in high patient needs units such as respiratory oncology.
Hurley is encouraging Ontario’s health minister to start a constructive discussion about which kind of care is appropriate for which kind of patient and who is best to deliver that care. “We believe this is a subject that is best dealt with thoughtfully and reflecting on the most recent scientific studies. Our hope is that the Minister of Health will step up to ensure that such a discussion takes place, that is inclusive of all providers, that is properly respectful and that does not divide nursing care providers.”
On May 19 Ontario celebrates PSW Day and Hurley adds it is “important to recognize the beneficial and scientifically observed impact that caregivers like personal support workers and registered practical nurses have on care for patients in hospitals and residents in long-term care.”
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