Vitalité Health Network innovates in its nursing delivery method
Vitalité Health Network, Tuesday, November 15, 2022 – Vitalité Health Network announced today its new care model, which aims to reinvent the way nursing care is delivered to inpatients. This is the result of a long-term project, and the Network is innovating in this approach that fits into its efforts to mitigate the staff shortage.
New care model
Pictured are three Campbellton Regional Hospital employees talking at the beginning of a shift. From left to right: Annick Thériault, Patient Care Attendant, MacKenzie Cooling, Licensed Practical Nurse and Marie-Pier Martel, Registered Nurse.
According to Sharon Smyth Okana, Senior Vice-President of Clinical Programs and Nursing, the care model that has been in place for years is primarily made up of registered nurses and licensed practical nurses––a labour force that is becoming increasingly rare. “So, we had to find a new model adapted to today’s reality and through which the delivery of quality care can be maintained,” she said. “During consultations, requests from nursing staff for support were heard loud and clear.”
Research on existing models elsewhere in Canada and around the world was conducted in partnership with researchers from the Université de Moncton’s school of nursing. In light of the findings, the Network chose a concept that advocates the addition of support staff, especially patient care attendants. The new model is called the “collaborative care model.”
A patient care attendant will be added to each team. This person will work in a triad with a registered nurse and a licensed practical nurse. The group will share the responsibility for care delivery based on patient needs. “The Network hopes the use of this model will help address the major shortage of nursing staff,” said Ms. Smyth Okana. “This is an unprecedented approach in the province, which will require a change in culture and increased collaboration between nursing staff, but that is the key to success, and we will succeed!”
This type of change will have to be implemented in phases over the next few years. Specifically, a review of the competencies that enable triads will need to be conducted, and patient care attendants or other workers will need to be recruited and added to the teams.
Another important factor that will help support patient-centred care is the integration of patients and family members as partners at all stages of care delivery. “This concept will be developed further in collaboration with a patient experience partner, staff, managers and nursing leadership,” added Ms. Smyth Okana. The concept of the “active offer” by patient care attendants is another important element. This involves a structured way of performing rounds at specific times, to meet patient needs proactively.
2022-2025 Nursing Action Plan
According to the Network, the collaborative care model fits into the broader framework of the 2022-2025 Nursing Action Plan. The plan entitled “Looking to the future: Vitalité Health Network nursing, toward an innovative and promising future,” aims to establish the priority actions that will help ensure safe health care for the people and a healthy work environment for staff.
To achieve this, the Network is working on many fronts: (1) consultation, engagement and structure of management; (2) renewal of the vision and mission of nursing; (3) recruiting and retention of staff; (4) management of admissions and discharges; and (5) development of transformational leadership and a succession plan.
“All these factors will help the Network tackle the challenges it is facing and look confidently toward the future,” concluded Ms. Smyth Okana.