Community collaboration with Horizon showing promising path forward

SACKVILLE – An active community group has partnered with leaders from Horizon to be proactive in establishing a sustainable health service delivery for the Sackville, Memramcook and Tantramar area.

“Our goal continues to be the restoration of 24/7 Emergency Department coverage at Horizon’s Sackville Memorial Hospital through recruitment and retention efforts,” said Margaret Melanson, Vice President of Clinical Services.

Recruitment efforts in the area have most recently resulted in hiring four Graduate Nurses and three Patient Care Attendants (PCAs). For this coming summer, Horizon has hired two Licenced Practical Nurses (LPNs) who are currently participating in a bridging course to become Registered Nurses (RNs), two nursing students, and a PCA.

Nancy Parker, former Executive Director of the Moncton area, was hired to support with the implementation of initiatives to improve morale and the general working environment at Horizon’s Sackville Memorial Hospital (SMH). This includes initiatives focused on retention that aim to improve rotations for nurses; efficiencies in the Emergency Department (ED) to reduce wait times and the number of patients who leave without being seen; and, cross-training LPNs to work in the ED. A new manager was hired in May with a commitment to engage staff and provide educational opportunities; and, the facility is recruiting for a new full-time educator to provide mentorship to staff on the units through education and clinical expertise.

“Working with the community to improve access to care in the Sackville and surrounding areas is a priority for Horizon. We know the people who live in the area have innovative ideas, connections and certainly the drive to complement the work we are doing,” said Melanson.

Horizon’s Director of Primary Health Care for the area, Richard Lemay, says the collaboration between the community and Horizon is a great approach for improving access to care in the area. “The collaboration helps both groups understand the needs of the community and how we can work together to make improvements to better meet those needs.”

A new steering committee was established to lead change related to the services at Horizon’s SMH. This structure provides a platform to proactively discuss, monitor and collaborate on initiatives undertaken to ensure sustainable health service delivery to the greater community. It also ensures Horizon receives stakeholder feedback on initiatives and assists in moving innovative and creative solutions forward.

“Our community appreciates the collaboration Horizon has shown us, not only to make meaningful changes, but to keep us involved and informed,” said John Higham, Co-Chair Rural Health Action Group (RHAG). “As a community, this represents a great opportunity to be actively creating a sustainable health care system through collaboration.”

The committee includes representation from Sackville, Memramcook and Tantramar including municipal leaders, Mount Allison University and community volunteers that form the RHAG. Horizon representation includes the Vice President of Clinical Services, the Executive Director for the Moncton area, Human Resources, Primary Health Care, Communications, and local physicians. The committee is supported by membership from Ambulance New Brunswick and is accountable to Horizon leadership and to municipal leaders in Sackville, Memramcook and Tantramar.

“We are extremely appreciative of our relationship with the community, and while there is still a lot of work to do before we achieve our goals, we are pleased to have their support,” said Christa Wheeler-Thorne, Executive Director of the Moncton area. “There’s no question we can do more together.”

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For more information contact:

Kris McDavid

Media Relations