September 2016

You Asked Us: Delegating to UCPs

I’m an RN working in acute care. As part of my role, I’m responsible for assigning certain procedures to UCPs. How can I tell when delegation is needed?

If the procedure you’re assigning to a UCP is not a controlled act, you don’t have to delegate. If it is a controlled act, it will need to be delegated unless it falls under an exception in the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA). (In this article, a UCP is a paid unregulated care provider as referenced in the Working with Unregulated Care Providers practice guideline.)

If you decide to delegate, you are solely accountable for your decision and you must follow the requirements listed in the Authorizing Mechanisms practice guideline.

RNs and RPNs can only delegate the following three controlled acts:

1. Performing a prescribed procedure below the dermis or a mucous membrane.

2. Administering a substance by injection or inhalation.*

3. Putting an instrument, hand or finger: beyond the ear canal; beyond the point in the nasal passages where they normally narrow; beyond the larynx; beyond the opening of the urethra; beyond the labia majora; beyond the anal verge; or into an artificial opening in the body.*

For more information about delegation, read this Delegation Q&A.

There is an exception in the RHPA that allows a UCP to perform (without delegation) any procedure under controlled acts No.2 or No. 3 listed above if it is a routine activity of living. A procedure is considered a routine activity of living when the need for, response to and outcome of the procedure have been established over time and are predictable.

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