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Nurse practitioners improve community care

Nurse practitioners have joined four community groups to support clients who face barriers related to their health and wellness.

These challenges include access to housing, lack of parental support, cultural differences, mental health difficulties, substance use and management of chronic disease.

The new $10-million, three-year health project has placed nurse practitioners alongside registered nurses and licensed practical nurses, forming community teams that deliver ‘first-stop’ and on-going health services where needs are high.

Nurse practitioners are Master’s or PhD health professionals qualified to diagnose and treat just about every health concern that can be managed outside of a hospital. They can do assessments and diagnosis, order tests and screenings, prescribe medications and perform procedures.

“Nurse practitioners are compassionate, highly trained professionals. We know that they will bring a lot to these organizations and make life better for those who might otherwise fall through the cracks. We will take what we learn from these projects to make decisions that will protect and improve the primary health care Albertans depend on.”

Brandy Payne, Associate Minister of Health

Grants have been given to The Alex Community Health Centre and Pure North S’Energy in Calgary, the Calgary Urban Project Society (CUPS), and the Boyle McCauley Health Centre in Edmonton.

“The support The Alex has received from the Province of Alberta for our nurse practitioners has really allowed us to expand and enhance our team. Nurse practitioners are uniquely prepared and qualified to provide client-centered care that moves treatment from episodic to preventative, with a focus on overall wellness. With this program we can provide increased mental health care, addiction supports and systems navigation, allowing us to provide quality care for an increasing population of vulnerable Calgarians.”

Shelley Heartwell, CEO of The Alex Community Health Centre

“Business as usual in health care is simply not acceptable and I think that this government has realized this. The Nurse Practitioner Association of Alberta is keen to see Albertans benefit from nurse practitioner care across the health-care system and we are pleased to be working collaboratively with all stakeholders with Albertans in mind.”

Eric Lavoie, President, Nurse Practitioner Association of Alberta

The Institute for Health Economics is heading an expert advisory group to guide and evaluate the four projects. The government will use the results for future policies related to primary health care and workforce planning.

Quick facts

The Alex Community Health Centre

  • In October 2016, the Alex received $340,440 for 2016-17.
  • Two full-time nurse practitioners were hired in September 2016 and one full-time nurse practitioner will be added in 2017-18. One full-time licensed practical nurse (LPN) and one full-time medical office assistant will be added this year.
  • Nurse practitioners at The Alex will provide comprehensive, primary health-care services such as health assessment and diagnosis, ordering and interpreting laboratory tests and diagnostic procedures, prescription of pharmaceuticals, chronic disease management, prevention and health promotion services. The LPN will work with nurse practitioners and provide services such as wound care, foot care, patient follow-up, and medication administration.
  • The grant will allow the clinic to offer extended hours.

CUPS

  • In September 2016, CUPS received $365,000 for 2016-17.
  • This project will ensure stable funding for 2.3 full-time equivalent (FTE) nurse practitioners and a part-time LPN who currently provide health care for women and children fleeing domestic violence.
  • It will also enable a 0.5 nurse practitioner and a 0.2 LPN to be added next year to help the clinic meet the needs of vulnerable adults and children who have health problems that are often complicated by issues of mental health, substance use, and poverty.
  • The additional nurse practitioner clinical capacity will be used within the health clinics and at other outreach clinic sites.   

Boyle McCauley Health Centre

  • In July, 2016, the Boyle McCauley Health Centre received $344,600 for 2016-17. Two FTE nurse practitioners were hired through the project funding.
  • The two new nurse practitioners and two LPNs will provide care for homeless women at the Women’s Emergency Accommodation Centre, for urban Indigenous people at Miyowayawin, for homeless and vulnerable youth at iHuman, and for men at Urban Manor.

Pure North S’Energy

  • In November 2016, Pure North received $925,851 for 2016-17. The clinic went live on Oct. 24, 2016 staffed with four new nurse practitioners.
  • Grant funding will be used to expand preventative health programs, including identification and reduction of diabetes, by establishing a multi-disciplinary clinic to provide comprehensive primary health care.
  • A broad range of vulnerable populations and high-risk populations in the greater Calgary area will be served, including seniors, homeless individuals, and First Nations communities.
  • Funding will be used for four FTE nurse practitioners, three FTE registered nurses, two FTE nurses’ aides and support staff. 

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