Horizon extends successful pilot to hire three more addictions and mental health social workers for emergency departments

(HORIZON) – The addition of an addictions and mental health social worker in the Emergency Department (ED) at Horizon’s Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital has helped improve access to addiction and mental health services for over 1,900 patients since January as part of a pilot project.

Based on this early success to offer additional support to thesepatients, Horizon is expanding the pilot project into three more emergency departments: three more social workers will join our addiction and mental health teams in Moncton, Saint John and Miramichi. These social workers will help ensure patients who come to our EDs with addiction or mental health concerns receive improved care and support in their recovery.

“We are seeing more people coming to our emergency departments with addiction and mental health concerns and so we have put a plan in place to improve access to these services in our emergency departments – an initiative that aligns with the 21 recommendations we received from the provincial government,” said Margaret Melanson, Horizon’s interim President and CEO. “This is one of our new initiatives focused on improving health care access and providing a safe and high-quality care experience for our patients.”

Mental health social workers will join a multidisciplinary team in the ED comprised of certified peer support workers, registered nurses and licensed practical nurses, and a psychiatrist. The team will engage with the patient and their supports to offer quality care and ensure they have the resources they need. When a patient comes to an ED with addiction or mental health concerns, they will experience this collaborative care service delivery model.

“This program will improve the patient’s care and experience and promote our “warm hand-offs”, which started in April of 2021. This will ensure patients and families can provide feedback every step of the way,” said Jean Daigle, Horizon’s Vice President Community. “To enhance interdisciplinary addictions and mental health teams in emergency departments, we are standardizing the use of addictions ad mental health social workers and their process across Horizon to create a culture based on trauma-informed recovery and strengthen the community partnerships we currently have to provide continuity of care.”

As partners of the community, our addictions and mental health social workers will recommend community services to patients when they leave a Horizon ED and ensure they have the resources and support they need. This includes following up with patients and their families or

supports to confirm they were able to connect with community services if a patient comes in after hours.

We have successfully hired social workers for the EDs at Horizon’s The Moncton Hospital, and Saint John Regional Hospital, and we are in the process of hiring for Miramichi Regional Hospital. The Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital (Fredericton) has had an addictions and mental health social worker in place since January of 2022.

Horizon is hiring in disciplines across the organization. If you or someone you know is interested in a career at Horizon, visit our Careers webpage to learn more and apply.

Improving access to health care, specifically emergency care and surgical services, is a key priority of Horizon’s plan to ensure all New Brunswickers receive the safe, high-quality and timely care they need. This plan consists of three other priorities, including the retention and recruitment of physicians, nurses and staff; improving overall patient experience; and improving patient flow at our health care facilities. Further details about Horizon’s four priority areas are available at HorizonNB.ca.

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For more information contact:

Kris McDavid

Media Relations