On February 3, 2023, the Ontario government released a summary of its proposal to amend Ontario Regulation 246/22 under theFixing Long-Term Care Act, 2021.The proposed amendments relate to staffing, medication management and resident experience.
The proposal includes amendments to permit medication administration by Personal Support Workers (PSWs) who have received the relevant training and who have “ been authorized by a member of the registered nursing staff [to] administer drugs to residents where it is not a controlled act.”
No specifics or particulars have been provided at this time with respect to the types and/or classes of medication that PSWs will be permitted to administer. However, based on the language of the proposal, these will likely be oral and/or topical medications, as administering a substance by injection or inhalation is a controlled act.
The proposal is also silent as to what the training to PSWs will include, and who will fund this training. It will be important that this training includes not only education regarding the various medications that PSWs may be permitted to administer, but also the appropriate documentation processes. It will also be important for registered staff to be provided education with respect to their role in delegating medication administration.
Overall, the proposed amendments to permit PSWs to administer certain medications provide the opportunity for efficiency and decreased workload for registered nursing staff. For example, a PSW may be able to apply topical medications in the course of providing personal care. This is a logical and efficient manner for these medications to be administered, and would save time for the registered staff, while not taking too much additional time for the PSWs to complete their work. That said, consideration will also need to be given to any increased workload or expectations for PSWs in long-term Care who are already very busy providing personal care to residents.
Comments on the proposal were due on March 5, 2023, and the Ministry is proposing that the amendments come into effect on April 11, 2023.
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