Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario


Nursing guidelines target obesity, asthma, post-partum depression, diabetes

RNAO hosts week-long look at how nursing guidelines are improving health & care

TORONTO, May 31, 2005 – While serious health problems like childhood obesity, asthma, postpartum depression and diabetes plague many Ontario families and periodically capture media attention, every day registered nurses across the country – and the globe – are using guidelines developed by Ontario RNs to ensure that people suffering from those, and other, conditions receive the best and safest nursing care possible, based on the latest available evidence.

On June 2 & 3, the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) will showcase and share some of that knowledge during its 3rd biennial international conference, Best Practice Guidelines: The Key to Knowledge Practice Synergy. Hosted by RNAO’s Centre for Professional Nursing Excellence, the conference has drawn the interest of hundreds of nurses from across Canada, the United States and Scotland. RNAO is also hosting a forum for a world-wide consortium called NICEBIRG, the Nursing International Collaboration for Evidence Based Implementation and Research of Guidelines.

“This week’s events bring together local and international experts who are making health care and nursing care better - and safer - for people at different stages of their lives. RNAO is pleased to be able to share with the world what Ontario RNs have developed to raise the bar on nursing care and to help keep Ontarians healthy,” said RNAO executive director Doris Grinspun.

The Nursing Best Practice Guidelines Project is led by RNAO and funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Since its inception in 1999, hundreds of nurses have produced 27 NBPGs, ranging from asthma control for children to falls prevention among seniors. Many health-care settings have implemented the guidelines both inside and outside Ontario. Guidelines on postpartum depression, childhood obesity, foot care for diabetics and women abuse have just been released, and three more will be developed in 2005-06. The project, the largest of its kind in Canada, is gaining international attention – the World Health Organization’s Web site recently highlighted RNAO’s smoking cessation BPG.

“Whether it’s smoking cessation guidelines or sharing the latest knowledge about how to care for the particular needs of seniors, women at risk of abuse or children, this conference shows the creative ways these guidelines are being used to promote better health outcomes. Nurses can learn from their colleagues and help their patients or clients by incorporating those lessons into their own practice,” says NBPG project director Tazim Virani.

Sherri Forte is a staff nurse at University Health Network’s Toronto General Hospital. She uses the guidelines to teach people newly diagnosed with diabetes and cardiovascular patients with diabetes how to control their conditions to improve their long-term health and prevent complications. “We want to make sure patients and their families are confident in managing their diabetes at home, and that they know what a healthy meal plan is and can recognize the symptoms of high and low blood sugar,” Forte says.

Using the guidelines to teach patients how to manage and prevent health problems is one focus of the 3rd Biennial International Conference on Best Practice Guidelines.

Conference highlights include:

  • How Trillium Health Centre in Mississauga is using an education kiosk called the Learning Rocket to help children learn about their asthma.
  • A contest encouraging teenagers in Simcoe County to quit smoking or stay smoke free.
  • What University Health Network in Toronto is doing to prevent falls in the elderly.
  • What nurses at Barrie’s Royal Victoria Hospital are doing to address delirium, dementia and depression in seniors without using restraints.
  • A presentation from Dr. Dave Davis, member of the faculty of medicine at the University of Toronto, who will discuss implementing guidelines.

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses wherever they practise 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.


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