RDC students speak up for patients

College pleased with future health care professionals

Seven licensed practical nursing students and their instructor have made Red Deer College proud.

Recent care concerns in the continuing care wing of Lacombe Hospital and Care Centre were identified by the RDC students and instructor in March while the first-year students completed a seven-week, instructor-led practicum in Lacombe.

As a result, Alberta Health Services investigated serious concerns about infection prevention, cleanliness, medication handling and training.

“The actions taken by our students and their instructor takes a lot of courage. I think it speaks to the integrity and professional ethics by which they are taught to practice,” said Linda Moore Martin, RDC’s dean of the School of Health Sciences.

“We’re very proud of the action taken by the practical nurse students and their instructor on behalf of the Lacombe residents. Students had discussed what they had observed with their instructor and the associate dean here in the school. From there, they brought the concerns forward to the manager of the facility.”

Earlier this week, Wildrose leaked documents about the investigation that showed serious breaches including: expired aseptic sterile supplies like catheters; soiled linen and garbage overflowing into hallways; slings being used communally without a clear, consistent cleaning process; medication left unsecured, unlabelled, unattended; and lack of proper training in medication management and assistance, dementia care, risk management, fall prevention, CPR, palliative/end-of-life care, safe lifts, restraints, and bathing.

Three staff members called leaders at the Lacombe facility were placed on leave while AHS investigated. AHS also had thorough health assessments done on all 75 long-term care residents, along with a thorough cleaning of the wing, education sessions for staff, and improved communication between caregivers, residents and families.

She said the Lacombe facility has been a regular training spot for students.

“We’ve been very impressed in the manner in which Alberta Health Services has taken the concerns seriously and the actions that they’ve taken since,” Moore Martin said.

A final report on the investigation could be available as early as next week.

szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

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