FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government unveiled a three-year plan today aimed at helping seniors remain in their homes for as long as possible.

"Senior care is a priority of our government as the challenge of the changing demographic will be with us for the coming years," said Premier David Alward. "We recognize seniors want to live with dignity, respect and in their own homes and we want to help them achieve that goal."

Home First is designed to enhance healthy aging and care in New Brunswick. It will support seniors to maintain health and independence as well as continue to live at home for as long as possible.

"The Home First strategy represents a significant shift in health care thinking and reflects our government's commitment to patient and family-centred care," said Social Development Minister Madeleine Dubé. "We want our seniors to have appropriate care, in the right place, and be able to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible."

To be phased in during the next three years, Home First encourages a fundamental change in philosophy and practice whereby hospital admissions, lengthy hospital stays and transfers directly from hospital to residential facilities are considered only after fully exploring other community-based options.

"We want all New Brunswickers, and especially our seniors, to be supported in better managing their health conditions at home and in their community," said Health Minister Hugh Flemming. "With enhanced services and support from the Extra-Mural Program and home-support workers, we will be offering a more effective patient-focused model of care. It will reduce pressure on more expensive and resource-intensive acute care services."

Home First is supported by three pillars:

●    healthy aging;
●    appropriate support and care; and
●    responsive, integrated and sustainable systems

The plan outlines a series of approaches, strategies and initiatives to help seniors live in their own homes and continue to be part of their communities.

"While having an aging population can present challenges, it also gives us the opportunity to reflect upon the importance of seniors and the value they add to our province and communities," said Healthy and Inclusive Communities Minister Dorothy Shephard. "I am proud that the provincial government is transforming the aging process into a celebration of lives well-lived and is assisting seniors to remain as healthy and independent as they can, for as long as they can."

The development of the Home First strategy was a collaborative effort between the departments of Social Development, Healthy and Inclusive Communities, Health, Vitalité Health Network and Horizon Health Network.

The plan is also based on feedback received from seniors, families, senior-related service providers and health care professionals.


●    Department of Social Development