LPNs will see their role expanded in 2020, but no clear commitment to increased supports
On Thursday afternoon, Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced that he is widening the scope of practice for licenced practical nurses (LPNs). This expansion will come into effect on February 1st, 2020, and will impact over 16,000 LPNs across Alberta.
Friends of Medicare is pleased to see the government recognize the importance and integral role of LPNs within our health care system. With an appropriate utilization strategy, an expansion to the role of LPNs could alleviate under-staffing in care settings and optimize the continuity of patient care. “We are hopeful that given that LPNs will be using more of their competencies, they will also be afforded the resources and educational supports to ensure best patient outcomes,” indicated Sandra Azocar executive director of Friends of Medicare. “The current reality facing our LPNs is that they are constantly being asked to do more with less.”
The government’s responsibility now is to take stock of existing staffing in care facilities and identify staffing shortfalls that are impacting patient care. “There needs to be the appropriate staffing levels in health care settings, in order to ensure patients have access to timely and quality care,” said Azocar. “The government needs to establish an effective workforce strategy that includes the right mix of health care professionals in a variety of care settings, so that Albertans can be assured that staffing decisions are based on best patient outcome, not on budgets.”
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