LONDON, Jan. 13, 2014 – The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) appeared before the Select Committee on Developmental Services today to convey concern about the lack of a provincial Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) strategy.
Registered nurses Kathy Moreland Layte and Mary Mueller addressed the committee, which met in London, ON., on behalf of RNAO, the professional body representing over 36,000 Ontario registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and nursing students.
The committee, comprised of MPPs, is gathering information on how to tackle the urgent requirement for a comprehensive strategy to address the needs of children, youth and adults in Ontario with an intellectual (developmental) disability, or those diagnosed with an intellectual disability and a mental illness.
FASD is a lifelong disability associated with exposure to prenatal alcohol. It is the leading cause of developmental disability among Canadian children, with an estimated nine babies out of every 1,000 born in Canada with FASD.
At today's meeting, Moreland Layte and Mueller issued three calls of action to the province: 1) come up with a provincial strategy that addresses FASD through an integrated, interdisciplinary approach that speaks to the prevention, diagnosis and care of individuals and families living with this disability 2) offer accessible, affordable diagnostic services for children and their families, and 3) create respite and other services for caregivers.
In 2012, at RNAO's annual general meeting, a resolution was unanimously passed to address the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of FASD in Ontario. Doris Grinspun, chief executive officer of RNAO, says nurses are in a unique position to help those living with FASD by advocating for greater awareness of the risks of drinking during pregnancy, and by supporting more effective prevention, diagnosis, interventions and supports for those living with the disorder. "It's time for the province to step up to the plate and begin to better serve those affected by this pervasive disability," says Grinspun. "Let's work together to decrease its prevalence and help those living with of FASD."
The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses' contribution to shaping the health-care system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.
For more information, or to arrange an interview with a nurse, please contact:
Director of Communications, Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario
Melissa Di Costanzo
Communications Officer/Writer, Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario