Nurse practitioners to expand nursing home care

by Morinville News Staff

The Government of Alberta announced Monday that it was modifying regulations to allow nurse practitioners to provide expanded care to nursing home residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those changes will allow nurse practitioners to act as primary care providers in nursing homes, admitting and assessing residents, as well as offering follow-up care.

The government says the changes would let nurse practitioners and other qualified health professionals prescribe medication and order treatments, depending on their scopes of practice.

Current nursing home regulations do not allow nurse practitioners and other health professionals to work to their full scopes in nursing homes.
“Nurse practitioners’ advanced skills and knowledge are needed now more than ever,” said Minister of Health Tyler Shandro in a media release Monday. “Removing barriers so they can fulfil their role as independent primary care providers in nursing homes is part of our commitment to do everything we can to protect Alberta’s most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Mary-Elizabeth Cooper, president, Nurse Practitioner Association of Alberta
said the association is looking forward to working with AHS and the province to reduce regulatory red tape.

“Nurse practitioners are in a unique position to provide a broad scope of services in Alberta nursing homes,” Cooper said, adding she was looking forward to finding more ways nurse practitioners can help meet the province’s health-care needs.

The announced changes will remain in effect until Aug. 14, unless the ministerial order is terminated earlier or the public health emergency is reduced or extended.