Permanent changes for expanded care in nursing homes
Changes to Alberta’s nursing homes regulations mean residents can access direct primary care from nurse practitioners beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
Long-term changes to Alberta’s nursing homes regulations will come into effect on Aug. 15. These changes make the temporary amendments, introduced as part of the government’s response to COVID-19, permanent.
The amended regulations remove barriers permanently so nurse practitioners can act as primary care providers in nursing homes, admitting and assessing residents, as well as offering follow-up care. Permanent changes also allow nurse practitioners and other health professionals to prescribe medication and order treatments in nursing homes, according to their scopes of practice.
“We heard from nursing home operators that the changes introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic make a real difference. That’s why our government is making the regulatory changes permanent and ensuring nursing home residents have better access to primary care going forward. Taking swift action to increase nursing home residents’ long-term access to care from nurse practitioners and other health-care providers is part of our promise to make life better for all Albertans, especially seniors and our most vulnerable.”Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health
Changes will be made to the two regulations under the Nursing Homes Act: the Nursing Homes General Regulation and the Nursing Homes Operation Regulation.
“Nurse practitioners are an integral part of the patient’s journey, and they play an important role in the delivery of health care across the province. Alberta Health Services supports NPs within AHS to work to full scope of practice. This change will remove legislative barriers and further support the provision of improved, accessible care for residents in long-term care.”Dr. Verna Yiu, president and chief executive officer, Alberta Health Services
“Nurse practitioners are autonomous practitioners with advanced qualifications that enable them to provide independent primary care in Alberta. We welcome the permanent changes that allow nurse practitioners to work to their full scope in nursing homes and look forward to continuing our work with government to support nurse practitioners working to full scope throughout Alberta’s health system.”Mary-Elizabeth Cooper, president, Nurse Practitioner Association of Alberta
Nursing home residents can now receive prescriptions for Schedule 1 drugs and orders for common diagnostic tests, like X-rays, ultrasounds and CT scans, directly from nurse practitioners and other qualified health professionals, according to their scopes of practice and at the discretion of the operator. These permanent changes reduce red tape and eliminate unnecessary duplication while increasing access to primary care for nursing home residents.