By: Beverly Pavasaris, President, Brockton VNA
President, Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts
Once again this legislative session, the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts has filed a bill (An Act Relative to Home Health & Hospice Aides) to allow nurses working in home health agencies and hospices to delegate the administration of certain medications to home health aides. Before this would occur, the home health agencies would need to provide training, certify competency skills and establish documentation protocols according to the nurse delegation model developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. Such regulations, according to the bill, will be drafted by the state’s Board of Registration in Nursing in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and with nursing input.
In past legislative sessions, I have testified in support of this bill as a creative and progressive solution to removing existing barriers that obstruct home health patients from getting needed care. Our legislation recognizes the changing scope of work that can be safely provided by paraprofessionals with appropriate nurse oversight and helps prepare our state for the aging of our population and growth in clients living at home with medical condition that are stable and predictable.
If this bill were to pass we would by no means be in the forefront of this issue. A number of states, including Oregon and Washington, and most recently Connecticut , have addressed at-home medication delegation, resolving that the need for assistance with managing and administering medications should not drive citizens into nursing homes. Aside from the improved efficiency of care, Connecticut anticipates a $28 million savings per year from their effort to allow certified home health aides to assist nurses with certain tasks.
An obstacle to getting this bill passed has been lack of support from the state’s professional nursing organization: MNA. The Alliance has met with them on numerous occasions and assured them that this bill is intended to keep nurses, who are uniquely qualified to promote the health of patients in their homes, closely involved in the administration of medication. They remain unconvinced.
At this time, the Board of Registration in Nursing is looking at revising their own delegation regulations to prepare for possible delegation of medication administration in the home. But we need the Legislature to act, and we would like to show them that we have nursing support.
Please get involved. If you belong to MNA, let them know you support this. If you would like to testify or set up a legislative meeting on this issue, contact James Fuccione, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.