HCA News

July 4, 2024 | News

Steps Towards HCA Regulation in 2023

Upon regulation of HCAs in Alberta, the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta (CLPNA) will become one college with two distinct professions: Licensed Practical Nurses and Health Care Aides. The CLPNA has been working with the Government of Alberta, HCAs, and a broad group of stakeholders from across the province to make the transition to regulation.

2023 Focus Groups

In January 2023, the CLPNA held focus groups to support the transition from the HCA Directory to regulation under the Health Professions Act. The perspectives shared in these groups are informing the development of a framework for regulated HCA practice.

These 19 focus groups hosted more than 1,000 attendees representing stakeholder groups including HCAs, employers, educators, Indigenous healthcare providers, and others working in various practice settings across Alberta.

These focus groups supported the CLPNA in better understanding the practice, role, responsibilities, supervision, and accountabilities of HCAs in various settings as well as in rural and urban areas. The feedback provided in these sessions will inform the development of HCA regulation, a code of ethics, and standards of practice as well as the development of related policies and guidance.

Key Themes

In a report submitted to the Government of Alberta in April 2023, the CLPNA detailed five key themes of the focus group feedback. These themes were validated by a follow-up survey sent to focus group attendees.

» HCAs are important members of the healthcare team. Attendees agreed that HCAs are vital to providing client- and resident-centered care, as they are the “eyes and ears” for the care team.

» HCAs are challenged with high workloads. HCAs are heavily involved in the daily care for clients, and there are concerns about their capacity to complete required care.

» There is a need for consistent understanding of the HCA role. There is inconsistency in how the HCAs role is understood, and the care activities they are assigned vary greatly.

» It is important to have education that reflects HCA practice. Focus groups showed that a lack of employer confidence in HCA knowledge and skills remains, which can lead to under-utilization.

» Health system challenges impact HCAs. The needs of the patients, residents, and clients that HCAs care for are increasing in acuity and complexity, leading to higher workloads


Standard, Code, and Policy Development

When regulation comes into effect, the regulatory college will set requirements in part through a code of ethics, standards of practice, policies, and guidelines. These requirements will provide a framework for HCA practice and bring clarity to the role.

Throughout 2023, the CLPNA worked to develop key documents for HCA regulation, including the Code of Ethics for HCAs in Alberta and the Standards of Practice for HCAs in Alberta. As part of the development process, the CLPNA conducted small focus groups to receive feedback from HCAs. The feedback received centered primarily on the language level used and the need for further definitions. The CLPNA will continue to consult with HCAs and other stakeholders on these and other key documents.