Health

Nurse practitioners permitted to offer additional medical care in Alberta nursing homes

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"We will balance this relaunch with the ongoing response to COVID-19, and continually evaluate as we move forward", said Alberta Health Services President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Verna Yiu.

"Reaching more than 100 deaths is a sombre milestone", said Hinshaw.

Dr. Hinshaw reported a new outbreak at the Purolator Distribution Centre in Calgary with 30 cases in employees.

As the province prepares to reopen businesses through a phased strategy, AHS is expanding the criteria for testing to include asymptomatic people in close proximity with someone who's tested positive; those who are newly admitted to continuing care facilities; and those with a variety of new symptoms.

The province-wide totals are now at 5,836 cases, 2,942 recoveries and 104 deaths.

A temporary change to the regulations governing nurse practitioners will allow the health professionals to assess patients, prescribe medication and order treatment in nursing homes in Alberta.

There were 229 more people confirmed to have recovered from COVID-19 in Alberta over the last 24 hours.

The modified rules - created to strengthen care for nursing home residents during the COVID-19 pandemic - are scheduled to remain in place until August 14, unless the province's emergency public health order is lifted before then.

Aside from fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath and runny nose, Hinshaw said people experiencing the following symptoms qualify for COVID-19 tests: headache, muscle or joint aches, feeling unwell, fatigue or severe exhaustion, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, unexplained loss of appetite, loss of sense of smell or taste, and pink eye.

"This is a necessary step", she said.

According to the province, there are more than 300 nurse practitioners working in Alberta.

"The decision to open the clinic remains with the operator", Shandro said. Current nursing home regulations do not allow nurse practitioners and other health professionals to work to their full scopes in nursing homes. "Thanks to our frontline health care workers, and thanks to the vigilance and patience of all Albertans, we are flattening the curve of COVID-19 infections".

Nurse practitioners have advanced training, including a masters degree and more than 700 hours in advanced clinical practice.

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