Feb 09, 2023

By Jane Brown

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It’s a decision that’s prompting backlash from advocates for long term care residents in Ontario.

The governing Ford Progressive Conservatives at Queen’s Park are proposing to allow personal support workers to administer certain drugs to the long term care residents, raising concerns from resident activists about safety and accountability.

The proposal would allow PSWs who’ve received special training in drug administration to provide residents with non-controlled medication like Tylenol or those prescribed for certain common ailments, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.

“It’s not IVs. It’s not needles. It is topical medications,” Minister of Long Term Care Paul Calandra told CTV News Toronto in an interview.

“They’re not prescribing, they’re not dispensing. That’ll still being done by a doctor or a nurse.”

Calandra added that nurses are taking on a greater role in long-term care, so allowing PSWs to handle non-controlled medications will free them up to deal with more pressing needs.

Long term care advocate Dr. Vivian Stamatopoulos says the new regulations will add more responsibility to an already overburdened work force.

She says the government should be hiring more nurses for long term care and paying both the nurses and PSWs more.

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) says a proposal like this will not only put residents at risk, but also make PSWs more vulnerable.

“First of all, the resident may not even fully know that this person is not fully trained,” RNAO CEO Doris Grinspun said. “So, the resident is vulnerable and … so is the PSW because if he or she feels that they are not well prepared to do so, but now there is a regulation that says you can do it and if they speak up, they may be let go.”

Residents have until March 8 to provide their feedback on multiple long-term care regulations under the Fixing Long Term Care Act.

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