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Province invests in successful seniors care pilot

Author: NB-IRDT Staff

Posted on Jun 1, 2023

Category: DataNB

Health care is expensive. As New Brunswickers we are fortunate to have the majority of our health care expenses covered by the province, rather than the onus falling on individuals. However, we are still affected by burdens placed on the health care system. Predicted changes, such as an aging population, as well as unexpected situations, like the COVID-19 pandemic, all increase the demands placed on our health care system. With a finite budget, the importance of relieving some of the burden on our health care system and improving patient care cannot be understated. Increases made to either of these is no small undertaking. Improving both simultaneously, however, is an impressive feat.

A CBC article recently covered one such example, a Health Seniors Pilot Project (HSPP), Radiography on Wheels which brings mobile x-ray services to nursing homes. This initiative, which started early in 2022, saw a single mobile x-ray unit and technician traveling to different care facilities in Saint John. As many nursing home residents require an ambulance and paramedics to access x-ray services at the hospital, bringing the service to them enabled residents to bypass the ambulance trip and long wait times. This, in turn, allowed ambulatory care and emergency services to remain available for other urgent care needs. It also allowed hospitals to lower their intake and reduce the typical associated expenses by approximately 1/3.

In its first year, a single mobile unit conducted over 500 x-rays in senior care facilities. Radiography on Wheel was so successful, in fact, that the program was awarded the 2022 Innovation in Person-Centered Care Award from Planetree International. The province has recently dedicated $1.1M to expand the initiative from one to seven mobile x-ray units. By investing in this patient-oriented health care initiative, the province is improving the quality of care experienced by many seniors, reducing ER congestion and saving money.