CARAQUET (GNB) – The first phase of an initiative which enables paramedics to refer at-risk seniors on the Acadian Peninsula to the Extra-Mural Program was unveiled today.

“This initiative is a great example of how the government can do things better, smarter and more efficiently,” said Natural Resources Minister Denis Landry. “Paramedics are often the first point of contact when a senior has a health crisis and this new initiative will enable paramedics to directly refer seniors to the Extra-Mural Program. Our government is proud to support seniors to stay at home longer and to increase the focus of the health system on community-based care and early help to prevent unnecessary hospitalization.”

Landry made the announcement on behalf of Health Minister Victor Boudreau.

The project targets seniors 65 and older who live at home and who would benefit from an Extra-Mural Program assessment and care to help them with:

  • managing their medications;
  • monitoring and managing a chronic disease like arthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, and/or dementia;
  • reducing their risk of falls;
  • daily activities (bathing, dressing, preparing meals and walking) due to their health condition;
  • family and caregiver support to care for their needs; and
  • information and support to organize their health-care needs and find services in the community so they can safely live at home.

“Our paramedics often see patients in their home environment,” said Ambulance New Brunswick’s director of support services Edgar Goulette. “They are well-positioned to recognize individuals who could benefit from support provided by the Extra-Mural Program. This referral process gives our paramedic crews a new way to advocate for their patients by playing an active role in referring patients and helping them gain access to the right support and care.”

“This morning’s announcement is great news for health care on the Acadian Peninsula,” said Stéphane Legacy, chief operating officer for the Acadie-Bathurst zone and vice-president of health information technologies for the Vitalité Health Network. “This innovative project fits in perfectly with the vision of the Vitality Health Network, which seeks to increase community services and to help keep people at home as long as possible. This initiative will allow us to reduce the number of visits at the emergency department and the number of admissions to the hospital that are not deemed necessary.”

Direct referral to the Extra-Mural Program by paramedics is being implemented on the Acadian Peninsula and will be rolled out provincially in spring 2016.

The goal of this joint initiative between the Extra-Mural Program and Ambulance New Brunswick is to help seniors receive the appropriate care.