Re: Dialogue needed in nurse wars (Our View, Jan. 8)
I agree there is confusion for the public over what it will actually mean for patient care if the proposed Care Delivery Model Redesign is fully implemented in April.
The health authority says the model will introduce health care aides into acute care to improve the quality of care received by patients.
On the surface, one would think, ‘How can having more care staff not accomplish this?’ The answer of course is, yes, with more staff, care could very well improve. The problem is that the care model reduces the number of nurses responsible for the patient care.
If one looks at the implemented care model now being used in Nanaimo General Hospital, the nurse/patient ratio went from four to five patients per nurse to eight, nine and more, in some cases. This means the nurse must be responsible for 50 per cent more patients – administering medications, consulting with doctors, planning for when the patient goes home and other responsibilities that only the nurse is trained and qualified to do for people under their care.
It is clear the addition of care aides to augment patient care would certainly be good for patient care, but not balanced on the elimination of nurses.
Over the decades, studies have shown when you remove professional registered nurses and licensed practical nurses from the patient’s bedside, there are dire consequences.
There is no doubt Island Health is attempting to respond to ever-increasing costs, but I don’t believe this ill-conceived care model will solve its financial woes. Open dialogue with the public and the nursing staff directly responsible for patient care should be its priority. Patient care and safety should always be at the forefront in the delivery of health care.
Barry E. Phillips, LPN