New program improving quality of life, reducing need for surgery for osteoarthritis patients

All New Brunswickers deserve accessible and quality health care and a positive patient experience, and this initiative is one example of how Horizon is committed to providing that every day.

(HORIZON) – Horizon patients living with hip and/or knee osteoarthritis can now benefit from an internationally-recognized education and exercise program, which has already improved the quality of many participants and even allowed some to reconsider the need for surgery.

Good Life with Osteoarthritis Denmark (GLA:D) Canada is an evidence-based program to treat and manage hip and/or knee osteoarthritis symptoms. It helps with managing and slowing the progression of osteoarthritis, improving patient outcomes (increasing function, decreasing pain) and reducing the need for total joint replacements and opioid use.

Horizon’s GLA:D program, offered by a GLA:D-certified physiotherapist, includes supervised education and targeted neuromuscular exercises, consisting of an assessment, two 90-minute group educational sessions and 12 group exercise classes.

“With the GLA:D program, we’re empowering patients to feel confident in managing their hip or knee osteoarthritic symptoms and live active lifestyles while awaiting surgery,” said Gary Foley, Horizon’s Vice President Professional Services. “This is one of the many initiatives we’re working on at Horizon to provide better access to quality health care for all New Brunswickers.”

The program is currently offered at the following locations: Saint John Regional Hospital (SJRH), St. Joseph’s Hospital (St. Joe’s), The Moncton Hospital (TMH), Miramichi Regional Hospital (MRH), Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital (DECRH), and Upper River Valley Hospital (URVH).

So far, 135 people have graduated from the program, more than half which have reported an improvement in their pain level. As well, 11 patients no longer wished to have surgery. 

“I’m so GLAD I participated in this program,” said Joan, a former GLA:D program participant at SJRH. “Before starting the program, I could only walk outside or on the treadmill for a short time, about 15 to 20 minutes before pain and discomfort set in. Now I can walk for an hour either way and have only a little soreness and stiffness in my knee, which is mostly gone the next day.”

Evidence suggests that patients currently living with hip and/or knee osteoarthritis and awaiting surgery, as well as those recently diagnosed, could benefit from the education and exercise therapy offered through the GLA:D program.

“The education about arthritis, as well as the follow through from the staff, was excellent,” said Joyce, a former participant of the GLA:D program at Horizon’s Upper River Valley Hospital. “As a result, I saw improvements in my condition every week, which was always very encouraging.”

The program is currently accepting patients. More information about how to self-refer can be found on Horizon’s website

Improving access to care for New Brunswickers is a key priority of Horizon’s plan to ensure all New Brunswickers receive the quality 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   This initiative also supports the Government of New Brunswick’s provincial health plan, Stabilizing Health Care: An Urgent Call to Action.

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For more information contact:

Kris McDavid

Media Relations