The Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario (RPNAO) is committed to supporting excellence in healthcare. Today, RPNAO was very encouraged by the release of the Long Term Care Home Public Inquiry Final Report and the recommended actions put forward by Commissioner Gillese. This report not only helps to answer questions about the circumstances that resulted in the terrible harm and death of long-term care (LTC) residents and prevent similar tragedies in future but also offers an opportunity to enhance the quality of care delivered to residents across Ontario’s LTC system.
As the voice of Ontario’s 45,000 Registered Practical Nurses (RPN), thousands of whom work in LTC facilities, RPNAO shares the Commissioner’s goal of enhancing resident safety. We believe several of today’s recommendations will help achieve that goal. In particular, we applaud the Commissioner’s call for a study examining adequate levels of registered staff.
RPNAO has repeatedly called attention to the need to enhance staffing in LTC. “Our members working at the frontlines of LTC have told us about the growing pressures they face meeting the increasingly complex needs of residents. As our population continues to age, those needs will only continue to grow” says Dianne Martin, CEO, RPNAO. “Ensuring adequate levels of registered staff, including knowledgeable and skilled RPNs, will not only improve the safety and result in better care for residents but enhance the well-being of the nurses committed to delivering that care.” We look forward to working with the government and nursing partners to support this study.
RPNAO also applauds the Commission’s proposed actions to build capacity in the LTC system. As professional practice leaders, RPNAO maintains that it is time for Ontario’s LTC system to move from a compliance environment to a standard of excellence. Similarly, RPNAO has been calling for the government to expand career laddering programs in LTC to support the attraction and retention of qualified staff and is eager to work with the government and other health partners to realize that goal.
As dedicated frontline health professionals, Ontario’s RPNs are committed to safeguarding the well-being of LTC residents. While today’s report offers a path forward for our LTC system, our thoughts continue to be with the victims, their families and the nurses and other health professionals who have been deeply impacted by these horrific events. Looking ahead, we remain focused on working closely together with the provincial government, LTC providers and other health partners to support the successful implementation of these recommendations to ensure that LTC residents receive the best care possible.
The Registered Practical Nurses Association is the professional voice of Ontario’s 45,000 Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs). RPNAO builds the profile and professional capacity of RPNS so we can better care for our patients and better support our fellow health care workers.