Seniors in residential care need three categories of nurses

Shift in nursing care ill-advised


Nurses are concerned about changes being implemented by Fraser Health.


Nurses are concerned about changes being implemented by Fraser Health that fail to address the growing needs of seniors in residential care at Peace Arch Hospital.

The changes will undermine nurses’ ability to collaborate and support each other in providing care at the hospital’s Weatherbee and Dr. Al Hogg Pavillions.

In a move designed to save the health authority money, licensed practical nurses (LPNs) will lose the support and collaboration of registered nurses (RNs)/registered psychiatric nurses (RPNs) on their teams on each of the facilities’ floors. Instead, a total of eight RNs/RPNs will lose their jobs, with those remaining required to float as needed throughout the facilities, with no frontline care responsibilities.

At a time when Fraser Health admits it must provide care for “increasingly complex and frail elderly in the residential sector,” the decision to eliminate experienced RNs/RPNs from the bedside nursing teams is ill-advised.

The move to hire additional LPNs for the facilities is positive. Taking away from these health-care professionals the clinical support of RNs/RPNs makes no sense, unless the health authority’s priority is its bottom line, not residents’ needs. Effective health-care delivery depends on teamwork, with RNs/RPNs, LPNs and other health-care professionals working together.

Seniors in residential care need more nurses in all categories, not fewer.

Decisions about staffing levels and staffing mix must be made with regard to the needs of the residents, not according to the health authority’s bottom line.

Debra McPherson, BC Nurses’ Union president


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