RNAO leaders to discuss health-care and COVID-19 priorities with Ontario nurses

Toronto
Nov. 6, 2020

With high numbers of COVID-19 cases across the province, two prominent nursing leaders are set to check in with nurses virtually to hear the nursing, health-care and health issues they believe should be front and centre during this pandemic.

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario’s (RNAO) President Morgan Hoffarth and CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun will be meeting virtually with registered nurses (RN), nurse practitioners (NP) and nursing students from different regions across Ontario between Nov. 10-18 as part of the association’s sixth-annual Fall Tour.

“Every year, the Fall Tour gives us an opportunity to hear from nurses and their experiences working in the health system. As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, it’s important to learn from them and see where we can do better to meet the health needs of Ontarians and keep nurses safe,” says Hoffarth. “This year also marks the Year of the Nurse and is a time to celebrate the successes of our profession including the tireless work nurses are doing during this pandemic and the release of our groundbreaking report ECCO 3.0, a call to the provincial government and the health system partners to strengthen community care and anchor the health system in primary care.”

As the professional association for 46,000 RNs, NPs, and nursing students, RNAO has been listening to what members say and is speaking out on important health issues facing the province and the country.

In July, RNAO released its Nursing Home Basic Care Guarantee to ensure residents living in nursing homes can count on consistent, safe and quality care. The guarantee calls for a staffing formula that provides no less than four hours of direct nursing and personal care per resident, per day and a proper skill mix by allocating a minimum of 0.8 hours (48 minutes) of RN care per resident, per day, 1 hour (60 minutes) of RPN care and 2.2 hours of PSW care (132 minutes). It also calls for one NP for every 120 residents and a nurse to focus on infection prevention and control, quality improvement and staff orientation, training and professional development.

RNAO also released its five-step process where the association calls on the government to ensure residents and their families are able to still see each other even when COVID-19 outbreaks occur in nursing homes.

“Seventy-nine thousand of the province’s frailest seniors call Ontario’s 626 long-term care (LTC) facilities home and trust them to meet their physical, social, spiritual cognitive needs on a daily basis. Yet, more than  2,000 residents in LTC homes have died from COVID-19 this year, leaving loved ones and staff in anguish,” says Grinspun. “Nurses are looking to the provincial and federal government to act now on our recommendations and implement national standards using as a foundation RNAO’s Nursing Home Basic Care Guarantee."

RNAO has also heard from members about addressing the opioid crisis, which has been exacerbated by COVID-19. RNAO has advocated for changes to reduce harm and provide supervised consumption services in any and all communities in need across the province. These services and the free naloxone they provide are vital to save lives and so is the urgent need for access to pharmaceutical-grade drugs as a safer alternative to the poisoned illicit supply.

“Addiction is a disease like any other and deserves the same compassion and universal access to health services. In the Year of the Nurse and during this pandemic, let us commit with resolve and insist we address this silent killer among us,” says Grinspun. “We urge the provincial government to lift the cap on the number of Consumption Treatment Services (CTS) sites and provide these services in every community where services are needed. As well, ensure sufficient funding and support to address shortages of treatment options, recover resources and mental health and addiction services mandated by the CTS model.”

The Fall Tour runs from Nov. 10-18 with virtual visits taking place with nurses in regions such as Durham, Sudbury, Algoma, Windsor, Waterloo and Kingston.

“The work that nurses do touches the lives of so many people. Our members know the broad range of factors that foster good health and that is why we are eager to hear about their moments of inspiration and the challenges they face,” says Hoffarth.

Join the conversation by using the hashtag #FallTour.

Details of RNAO’s Fall Tour:

Media interested in attending can follow up with a media contact at the information below or register online using the registration links provided above.

RNAO is the professional association representing registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and nursing students 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 about RNAO, visit RNAO.ca or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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To arrange an interview with a nurse, please contact:

Contact info
Victoria Alarcon
Communications Officer/Writer
Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO)