The Long-Term Care (LTC) sector currently looks much different than it did 20 years ago. In 2016, the New Brunswick Health Council reported that about 20% of all New Brunswickers had three or more chronic conditions. Nowhere is our higher level of acuity more pronounced than among the province’s senior population. Thirty-six per cent of New Brunswick seniors have a disability that affects their activities of daily living. More than 3,000 seniors living in private households suffer from some form of dementia.
Home care in Canada is overloaded and lacks important measures to ensure that safe, high-quality care is provided. Clients and caregivers are struggling to deal with long wait times and a patchwork of services and are at risk of both physical and psychological injury. Healthcare providers lack the protections and standards present in more traditional work environments.
Interprofessional collaboration is the foundation of the care model, with each member of the team (RNs, LPNs, PSWs, etc)working to the full scope of practice.
In the LTC setting, Nurse Practitioners (NPs) possess the expertise to manage the chronic and acute conditions that are prevalent among LTC residents such as diabetes, hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases. They possess the knowledge and skills to make a diagnosis, identify a disease, disorder or condition, order and interpret diagnostic tests; communicate the diagnosis and test results to the patient and to other healthcare professionals; and recommend or prescribe treatment, including drugs, and procedures.
Furthermore, studies show that NPs can improve or reduce decline in health status indicators like depression, aggressive behavior, loss of affect in cognitively impaired residents, serious fall-related injuries, ambulation, and family member satisfaction to name a few.