Media Release

Nursing excellence the key to quality patient care

Toronto, May 9, 2011

St. Michael's nurses demonstrated how best practice guidelines (BPGs) are revolutionizing nursing practice at an event to kick off Nursing Week.

The guidelines are evidence-based tools developed by the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO). Forty-two BPGs have been developed by the RNAO to date, including ones focused on health promotion such as pressure ulcer prevention, prevention of abuse against women, and falls prevention. Guidelines have also been developed to deal with smoking and child obesity. And, there are guidelines dedicated to treating wounds, diabetes, hypertension and asthma.

St. Michael's nurses are now in the final year of implementing and evalutating 14 clincial and three hospital-wide BPGs in the journey to be recognized as a Best Practice Spotlight Organization by the RNAO. Two areas St. Michael's has seen considerable success implementing guidelines has been screening for Delirium, Dementia and Depression in Older Adults, and in establishing therapeutic relationships through the My Story tool.

Delirium, Depression and Dementia

Delirium, depression and dementia often go unrecognized among the geriatric population because of their complexity, leading to a reduced quality of life and poor outcomes. The delirium, depression and dementia RNAO best practice guideline helps nurses better distinguish, screen and manage symptoms of the conditions through simple but important interventions. By referring elderly patients to the appropriate specialists early, writing the date on a whiteboard in a patient’s room, or placing a patient close to a window or away from other disruptive patients, nurses at St. Michael’s are helping to reduce confusion and agitation and improve outcomes in patients with the conditions. Early interventions are key in reversing or improving cognitive function and reducing the amount of time spent in hospital.

My Story Tool

Behind every patient is a person with a story. It is this basic idea that has guided the development of the My Story tool based on nursing best practice guidelines professionalism in nursing and establishing therapeutic relationships. The My Story tool helps nurses at St. Michael’s see beyond the patient’s diagnosis and aims to humanize the hospital experience for critically ill patients and their families. An easy-to-follow booklet posted above a patient’s bed gives loved ones an opportunity to celebrate the patient’s life – who they are, what they like, what is important to them – and also leaves space to attach pictures and draw a family tree. This helps nurses to get to know the patient as an individual – at a time when many have lost the ability to tell their story for themselves.

“We’re inspired by the commitment nurses and their organizations are showing by adopting our guidelines,” said RNAO’s Executive Director Doris Grinspun, who launched RNAO’s program in 1999, adding that the program has placed nurses in a leadership position at a time when new provincial legislation, The Excellent Care for All Act is putting the lens on quality by emphasizing evidence-based practices in a way never seen before.

RNAO’s internationally acclaimed Best Practice Guidelines Program is funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, to provide the best available evidence for patient care across a wide spectrum of health-care areas. The guidelines developed to date are a substantial contribution towards building excellence in Ontario’s health-care system. They are available to nurses and other health-care professionals across Canada and abroad.

About St. Michael’s

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who walk through its doors. The Hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in more than 23 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, and care of the homeless are among the Hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research at St. Michael’s Hospital is recognized and put into practice around the world. Founded in 1892, the Hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

About RNAO

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario is the professional association representing registered nurses in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health-care system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.

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