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NIHB Policy Change: The NSWOC Role in Wound, Ostomy and Continence Medical Supply Recommendation

The Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) Program recognizes Nurses Specialized in Wound Ostomy & Continence -NSWOC, WOCC(C) may make recommendations for wound, ostomy and continence supplies and fill out and sign the Template for Benefit Recommendation Medical Supplies and Equipment. They may also complete the required assessment forms in the fields of wound, ostomy and continence. NIHB recognizes that, within their scope of practice, RN’s have the competency, skill and knowledge to “renew” ostomy products only after initially recommended by a NSWOC, WOCC(C), or a NP or a MD and can recommend certain wound and continence supplies.

This policy change was effective December 17, 2018

NIHB has developed a process for NSWOC, WOCC(C) nurses to recommend wound, ostomy and continence products for registered Indigenous Peoples in Canada. That process is as follows:

1. Complete an assessment and determine client needs ( see attached file in the resource section)

2. Complete the Template for Benefit Recommendation Medical Supplies and Equipment ( see attached file in the resource section) or, if form is not available, include the following information in the written recommendations:

  • Client first and last name

  • Date of birth

  • Client Identification (ID) Number- (A unique number used to identify a client who is eligible to receive benefits under the program).

The client ID number may be comprised of one of the following:

  • A ten (10) digit number currently issued to eligible First Nations clients by Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs (CIRNA).

  • A three (3) digit band number, immediately followed by the five (5) digit family number identifying the family unit within the eligible First Nations client's band.

  • An alpha prefix followed by an eight (8) digit number issued to certain registered First Nations and recognized Inuit clients by NIHB.

  • A health plan number issued to recognize Inuit clients by the governments of NWT and Nunavut.

3. Recommendations including:

  • Rationale for choosing the product (ie. Goal of treatment based on Best practice – ie. Promote moist wound healing; reduce bacterial burden; etc). If an old wound what other products have been used in past and what are the obstacles preventing wound healing. (Good explanation will ensure approval of product)

  • Type or name of the medical supply or equipment recommended

  • Quantity recommended

  • Duration of treatment

  • Period of validity of the recommendations

  • Client weight and height, if applicable

  • Other

4. The recommending NSWOC, WOCC(C) information including:

  • First and last name

  • Job Title

  • Designation/Credentials

  • RN License number ( from the governing body that you are registered with)

  • Contact number and email

  • Written Signature and date( must be dated within the last 12 months)


v General NIHB Program information can be found online at To find MS&E policies and benefit lists, navigate to ‘Benefits and Services’, ‘Medical Supplies and Equipment’

Any questions or concerns related to this process can be directed to:

Catherine Harley, CEO of NSWOCC

Bev Smith, Core Program Leader for Indigenous WOC Health

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