Mobile X-ray service extended to long-term care residents provincewide29 May 2023
SAINT JOHN (GNB) – The Department of Health’s mobile X-ray service is being extended to long-term care residents across New Brunswick thanks to a $1.1 million investment by the provincial government.
The services will be offered through the Extra-Mural Program and will allow nursing home residents to be tested in place, rather than to go through potentially stressful and physically difficult trips to the hospital. The program also frees up ambulances for other emergencies.
“Today’s announcement is one more way we are making progress in the health-care system,” said Health Minister Bruce Fitch. “Having mobile X-ray services will help provide necessary care to those living in long-term care homes, leading to healthier outcomes. This supports other efforts under the provincial health plan, Stabilizing Health Care: An Urgent Call to Action, to ensure services to seniors and to improve access to primary care.”
The move follows a successful pilot project. Mobile X-ray services were first provided in the province as part of the Healthy Seniors Pilot Project, which funded a project led by Loch Lomond Villa in the Saint John area. Mobile X-ray services were provided to select nursing homes and special care homes in the area from May 2022 until March 31, 2023.
During that time 360 residents benefitted from the service for a total of 525 images.
“This innovative mobile X-ray initiative is one of the many ways we are working to ensure New Brunswickers receive the best care and services possible,” said Social Development Minister Dorothy Shephard. “Loch Lomond Villa has always been a leader and now their vision will change the face of senior care, provincewide. I am so pleased that it has been a success.”
Mobile X-ray services have been used globally and in several Canadian provinces, and they have been found to be feasible and cost-effective, said Fitch.
“This service will be instrumental in providing quality care for residents living in a long-term care setting,” said Ginette Pellerin, vice-president of the Extra-Mural Program. “Without the collaboration of our partners at the regional health authorities and the Department of Health, and the hard work of the team at Loch Lomond Villa, this success would not be possible.”
The pilot project led to a decrease in ambulance transports to the hospital for nursing home and special care home residents. Seventeen of the 360 residents – or five per cent – required a transfer after the mobile X-ray, which means that 343 transports were avoided.
“We are very proud that the success of this pilot project has expanded across New Brunswick,” said Loch Lomond Villa CEO Cindy Donovan. “We know that providing person-centered quality services for seniors is especially important for residents in our long-term care system.”
Diagnostic imaging technologists will be provided by Horizon Health Network and Vitalité Health Network. Service delivery will gradually be rolled out by health zone, based on recruitment opportunities.
“Horizon continues to explore innovative ways and partnerships to make positive changes to health-care delivery in New Brunswick,” said Margaret Melanson, interim CEO and president of Horizon Health Network. “Improving access to services and enhancing the health-care experience for our patients are critical priorities for Horizon and we are very hopeful that expanding access to mobile X-ray services will not only benefit long-term care residents, but also help ease congestion in our emergency departments and improve patient flow throughout our facilities.”