Having nursed for several years in acute and long-term care, I am appalled by what I am hearing regarding the care in long-term care facilities.
Why are the long-term care facilities not hiring registered nurses as part of their staffing mix, as was previously done?
This worked extremely well for years, in both public and private facilities, which was pointed out by Carla McLeod in her letter to the Summerland Review on Dec. 13.
The length and content of training for registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and care aides is quite different.
Registered nurses have a minimum of three years training and many have much more.
Licensed practical nurses have one year and care aides approximately six months.
Many licensed practical nurses and care aides have honed their skills and upgraded their education and have become excellent caregivers, however it is unfair and dangerous for the expectations to be that they are doing assessments, care planning and evaluating outcomes on their own.
I hear comments such as, “Why are there no government standards that regulate staffing levels in long-term care?”
Prior to this government taking office, there were clearly defined guidelines as to the education levels and number of staff per client ratio in both public and private long-term care facilities.
We need to be more aware and ask more questions regarding the staffing in any facility that we plan to either place a family member or become a client in order to receive the care these facilities are mandated to deliver.