Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario

Nurses help seniors stay healthy

Nurses help seniors stay healthy

TORONTO, June 16, 2006 – As we mark seniors’ month, Ontario nurses today launched numerous proactive tools aimed at keeping this group healthy and independent. The newly released professional guidelines for nurses help our elderly with many common conditions including: stroke; chronic pain; depression; and dementia.

Health Canada reports that as “baby boomers” age, the over-65 population is expected to reach 6.7 million in 2021 and 9.2 million in 2041. In fact, seniors are the fastest growing segment of our population.

“The quality of care for our elderly is a growing concern across Canada. The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is committed to providing today’s and tomorrow’s seniors with the kind of care that meets their physical, emotional, social and mental health needs at home, in hospital, or in a long-term care facility. These practical resources will help to set the bar high for elder care,” says the Director of RNAO’s Nursing Best Practice Guideline Program, Tazim Virani.

These Nursing Best Practice guidelines by the RNAO are clinical and educational resources providing specific evidence-based strategies to guide nurses' work with seniors. Key guidelines help to: assess and manage delirium, dementia and depression which can affect up to 40 per cent of those 70 and older; help prevent falls which are the primary cause of admissions to hospitals; assess and treat strokes, which constitute the third most common diagnosis in long-term care facilities; prevent constipation, which is both uncomfortable and restricting and increases with age; and better manage chronic pain.

RNAO has released numerous elder care nursing resources specifically including: Stroke Assessment across the Continuum of Care; Assessment and Management of Pain; Prevention of Falls and Fall Injuries in the Older Adult; Caregiving Strategies for Older Adults with Delirium, Dementia and Depression; Promoting Continence Using Prompted Voiding, Prevention of Constipation in the Older Adult Population; Risk Assessment and Prevention of Pressure Ulcers, Client Centred Care; and Screening for Delirium, and Dementia and Depression in the Older Adult.

RNAO is gratified that the Ontario government has recognized its lead on elder care and responded by hiring eight regional Long-Term Care Coordinators to implement RNAO’s Best Practice Guidelines in long-term care facilities across the province in 2005.

“We are thrilled to use and apply RNAO’s excellent best practice guidelines in the South West Region to provide the most responsive, proactive care to keep our seniors happy, healthy and moving,” says Anne Evans, the area’s Best Practice Guideline long-term Care Coordinator in London. “Alone and together, these state-of-the-art resources provide nurses with a practical and standardized game plan to prevent and minimize many common conditions related to aging,” she adds.

RNAO’s ambitious Best Practice Guidelines Program, funded by the Ministry of Health and long-term Care was launched in 1999 to provide the best available evidence for patient care across a wide spectrum of health-care areas. The 29 guidelines developed to date are a substantive contribution towards building excellence in Ontario’s health-care system. They are available to nurses across Canada and abroad.

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario is the professional association representing registered nurses in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has lobbied 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. To learn more about RNAO’s Nursing Best Guidelines Program or to view these resources please visit

For more information, please contact:
Marion Zych, Director of Communications, RNAO
Phone: 416-408-5605
Toll free: 1-800-268-7199 ext.209
Cell: 647-406-5605