Skilled nursing care
Communities with registered nurses on staff
Skilled nursing care facilities in Canada are most closely related to long-term care, but nursing care is also available in assisted living and other retirement homes. As well, families can hire qualified nurses through home care services. In Canada, skilled nurses are better known as registered nurses. You can jump right into reviewing skilled nursing care homes by browsing the list below or gain a fuller understanding of all terms related to nursing for seniors, in the guide below. Read more
The following communities feature Registered Nurses
Skilled nursing care homes like those listed above will feature registered nurses (RNs) on staff, most often around the clock. Today, most registered nurses have a university degree, typically a Bachelor of Science in Nursing or a Bachelor of Nursing. Some older nurses may not have been required to have a university degree when they were originally hired, in a very few cases.
About skilled nursing (RNs) requirements
In the four year Bachelor of Science in Nursing, students take coursework in a wide range of health sciences and related subjects. Study in this field will include microbiology, physiology, anatomy, chemistry, nutritional science, pathophysiology, epidemiology, and related sciences. The four year degree is the minimum to qualify as a registered nurse (RN) in Canada.
Other registered nurses have acquired higher qualifications like a Master’s Degree. Another, higher qualification seen in some retirement homes listed on ComfortLife.ca, is the Nurse Practitioner. To qualify for this, Registered Nurse as a prerequisite. Additional training qualifies these RNs to perform additional tasks including prescribing medications, as well as ordering tests for patients in their care, and interpreting those test results.
RNs provide coordination of care for seniors in care communities. Their broader, more comprehensive training and education means they take a stronger leadership role, and deal with a broader range of both patients and care needs. RNs are more highly qualified to deal with everyone from families to administrators, doctors and other health professionals. They are also qualified to understand complex health care changes that impact patients’ needs. RNs determine the course of care for elder patients, and will advise LPNs and RPNs on daily care required for elders in a care setting (see more below).
Registered nursing care and you
The number of registered nurses on staff at a retirement community can indicate the quality of care available. When paying for private health care, as is the case in many retirement homes, you obviously want to ensure that you are getting the best care available. Rest assured that the presence of an adequate number of highly qualified professionals is a mark of reliable care.
If you are in an independent living community, the presence of registered nurses gives you peace of mind, a safeguard if something should happen to you. It’s certainly not a requirement for communities, although a great number of Comfort Life’s listings of independent living communities do indeed have registered nurses on site, as well as RPNs.
Assisted living communities are not necessarily required to keep an RN on staff, though legal requirements may vary from one province to the next. A great many communities listed on our site do indeed offer registered nurses on site 24 hours per day. Check each community’s profile to find out the availability of nursing staff.
Long term care homes are required to have registered nurses on staff. All communities on our site, as linked in the list above, meet this requirement, of course.
A note on skilled nursing care at home. If your loved one requires nursing attention, you also have the option of hiring in-home help. Check home care companies listed on our site to discover their staffing of registered nurses and other nursing staff.
Registered nurses vs. other nursing designations
Four other nursing designations are held by nurses in communities listed at our site. These are Licensed Practical Nurse (outside of Ontario) or Registered Practical Nurse (in Ontario), the Registered Psychiatric Nurse, and the Nurse Practitioner. Here’s a closer look at each of these:
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Registered Practical Nurse (RPN, Ontario only) are qualified with a two year college degree, though some students complete their program in a shorter time. Programs typically include components and coursework in four key areas: physical and biological sciences, psychology, professional ethics, and therapeutic training. Programs also combine theory with clinical (practical) instruction.
As their title indicates, LPNs and RPNs are focused on executing the more practical tasks in the care environment of retirement communities. They are the front line nursing care your elder loved one will receive daily. In their own way, LPNs and RPNs are very skilled, of course.
Registered Psychiatric Nurse is another, related designation. These nurses complete a two to four year nursing education program at college or university. In this, they will study behavioural and social sciences, biological and physical sciences, general nursing, psychiatric theory and a variety of related studies. The presence of a registered psychiatric nurse in a retirement home is another marker of quality for seniors and family members. Care they provide is, as you might expect, attendant to seniors’ mental and emotional needs.
The value of this, for families, cannot be underestimated. The presence of a Registered Psychiatric Nurse And they can contribute significantly to the creation of a well-rounded care environment providing for all the care needs of seniors in their community.
Nurse Practitioner is more highly qualified than all of the above. These are registered nurses with additional education and experience, available at very few retirement communities. They are able to perform some medical procedures, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, and prescribe meditations. They treat the whole person, knowing people's entire medical history, offering health advice and teaching people to manage chronic illness.
Personal Support Workers are one more nursing aide worth noting. While not qualified as nurses, personal support workers provide critical care to seniors that are, in fact, in nursing care. We take a much closer look in a fuller discussion of personal support workers.
Sources and further reading elsewhere
"Seniors Care Nursing Supply and Demand." PDF. conferenceboard.ca/
"RN Solutions in the Care of Older Adults." PDF. cna-aiic.ca
Nursing Requirements in Canada. nnas.ca
Nursing in Canada. wikipedia.org