How to optimise the registered nurse contribution in care homes

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Staff shortages are leading some managers to review traditional patterns of working. But, as Hazel Heath explains, any changes must not compromise the care essential to meet the choices and complex needs of older individuals

This article aims to offer ideas that may be useful to care homes when considering priorities for registered nurse (RN) work. Drawing on the findings of research into the work of RNs and care assistants in UK care homes (Heath 2006), it discusses the distinct contribution of RNs, the delegation of nursing interventions and the need for a 24-hour RN presence. International debates on the distinct contribution of RNs in residential settings for older people are also acknowledged.

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