Successes in the Shippagan, Lamèque and Inkerman region inspire the rest of the province
Vitalité Health Network, Thursday, December 8, 2022 – A delegation of health system decision-makers visited Lamèque on Monday, December 5 to learn more about the winning practices developed in this region.
The Minister of Health, Bruce Fitch, the trustees of Vitalité and Horizon health networks, Gérald Richard and Suzanne Johnston, the Acting President and Chief Executive Officer and Vice-President of Clinical Services of Horizon Health Network, Margaret Melanson, and representatives of Medavie Health Services took part in the visit.
Bruce Fitch, Minister of Health, and Dr. France Desrosiers, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vitalité Health Network, visited the Lamèque Hospital and Community Health Centre on Monday.
Since 2003, a community advisory committee has been supporting the Lamèque Hospital and Community Health Centre. This citizen involvement has improved access to primary health care services and helped develop services tailored to needs identified in the Inkerman to Miscou region.
Over the years, many initiatives in chronic disease management, health promotion, and disease and injury prevention have been implemented. Some of these have included the development of a support group for breast cancer patients, pop-up hypertension clinics, educational and information segments broadcast on the community radio station, and a gardening project for low-income individuals.
Despite having a higher average age – 56 years versus 46.8 years for the province as a whole – the Inkerman to Miscou region has seen its health results improve. According to the New Brunswick Health Council, only 19 percent of local residents have at least three chronic health problems versus 23 percent for the province as a whole.
Shelley Robichaud, Director of Primary Health Care for Vitalité Health Network, believes that community participation and cooperation have been key to this success. And Dr. France Desrosiers, President and Chief Executive Officer, sees this collaborative spirit as an example for the rest of the Network to follow. “The Lamèque Hospital and Community Health Centre has had exemplary teams for a number of years. They have instituted a primary health care model that should be replicated and adapted across our province. We hope to share their winning practices to improve and transform our health system.”
Stéphanie Roy, Assistant Director of Primary Health Care, and Shelley Robichaud, Director of Primary Health Care, presented their vision to Bruce Fitch, Minister of Health.
Vitalité Health Network has capitalized on the Lamèque experience to develop a new, integrated primary health care model that will be deployed in the 13 communities that the Network serves.
Stéphanie Roy, Assistant Director of Primary Health Care, explained that this transformation will involve forming multidisciplinary teams. “The objective is to build an integrated network of nurse practitioners and physicians so that these primary care providers can work collaboratively. Our vision is for every patient to be connected with a primary health care provider team and for orphan patients to be looked after.”
A collaborative approach has already been implemented to improve how heavy users of hospital services and patients with complex needs are managed. This cohort of patients is now being cared for by a dedicated clinical team, with the result that their hospitalizations and emergency room visits have dropped significantly.
Vitalité Health Network also wants to expand the advanced access approach to all its clinics and health centres. This will involve keeping timeslots open for patients who need urgent care but not emergency room care.
An upcoming objective is also to improve access to primary care providers after office hours.
Over the course of the day, the delegation also attended a presentation on the Nursing Home Without Walls project developed by the Centre d’études du vieillissement at the Université de Moncton and undertaken in 2019 by the Résidences Lucien-Saindon in Lamèque. This facility offers a myriad of services to seniors who are still living in their own homes in order to help them continue aging in place and break out of their isolation. This concept will be replicated by 16 other nursing homes across the province in 2023.
Second row, from left to right: Gérald Arseneault, Trustee of Vitalité Health Network; Margaret Melanson, Acting President and Chief Executive Officer and Vice-President of Clinical Services of Horizon Health Network; Bernard Savoie, Mayor-Elect of the new municipality of Île-de-Lamèque; Shelley Robichaud, Director of Primary Health Care; Suzanne Johnston, Trustee of Horizon Health Network; and Jules Haché, outgoing Mayor of Lamèque.
Front row, from left to right: Stéphanie Roy, Assistant Director of Primary Health Care; Dr. France Desrosiers, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vitalité Health Network; and Bruce Fitch, Minister of Health.