Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The sad state of home care nursing

Where are the research reports that involve home care?

Home care is the sector touted, in every report on the future of healthcare in Canada, as fundamental to the future of the system, a sector that must grow in order to manage the increased complexity that the system will generate.

Given the present and envisioned future of home care, the sector should be a beehive of research activity, and we should have a research report or a report of an innovation in virtually every issue of this journal. The development of leaders is critical for this sector to respond to the enormous opportunities and challenges facing it.

Because home care is not covered by the Canada Health Act, different provinces use a variety of funding and delivery models. The Canadian Home Care Human Resources Study (2003) reports that between 8,600 and 9,700 registered nurses (depending on who is counting) are employed in home care; 29% of them work for private, for-profit agencies. Many receive no fringe benefits such as vacation, sick leave or pensions, and their salaries are lower than those of nurses working in other sectors (Canadian Home Care Human Resources Study 2003).

Home care nursing has a long and proud history in Canada. It needs great leadership to stimulate the development of innovations and research to put information into the hands of decision-makers.

Read the complete editorial here:

Dorothy Pringle, PhD
Editor-in-Chief, Canadian Journal of Nursing Leadership

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