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NB Extra Mural Program

Helping patients live their lives, in their space.

Known by many as the “hospital without walls,” the New Brunswick Extra Mural Program (EMP) works to prevent hospitalization and, when hospitalized, helps get patients discharged and safely home.

It’s a vitally important piece of our health care system, because for many patients, being able to receive treatmentat home makes all the difference.

Danny Jardine is Therapeutic Services Manager with the Extra Mural Program. His team covers six disciplines:
 social work; respiratory therapy; occupational therapy; physiotherapy for mobility, safety and independence; dietary needs and speech language pathology.

“With our aging population and demographic shift, we’re seeing many more seniors with health issues and chronic diseases,” Danny said. “We help them manage that in their home environment instead of the hospital. And that’s important, because let’s face it, people would rather be at home.”

The EMP’s standard services are funded by Horizon Health Network. But for services that go beyond the basics, there is the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation.

“Technology is starting to have an impact, and that’s a big role the Foundation plays – to help us purchase key tools for staff,” Danny said. “We recently purchased a new pressure mapping system to help prevent bed sores or wounds. It’s already relieving pressure for those clients.”

He says there’s also a broader cost implication, when considering the value of the EMP.

“From a provincial perspective, it’s cheaper to keep people at home too,” he said. “Each dollar invested in community care goes directly into care – there’s no overhead. I’d say that’s a great impact.”

Colleen Smith is a Manager with the Extra Mural Program.

“It’s all about helping transition people back to normal life,” Colleen said. “They are able to be in the comfort of their own home, where things are familiar. That way, their condition or treatment isn’t such a disruption in their lives.”

The EMP works with numerous community partners – in social development, mental health, public health, veterans’affairs, homecare agencies, hospital services and more.

Andre Jobe-Mackenzie is another EMP team leader. She says providing this holistic approach to health care at home is not only good for the system, it’s best for the patient too.

“It’s better for them health-wise to be at home,” she said. “It helps keep families and spouses together. When a spouse is missing, that feeling of safety is often missing too. It results in a less clinical, more personal type of care.”

The demands on EMP services grow each year. Saint John is the biggest EMP unit in the province, with more than 100,000 cases from more than 7,000 patients in 2013.

Andre says the EMP often uses funding from the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation for education, which is crucial to the team’s ability to provide world-class service.

“The staff is the heart of the program – the face and the front-line,” Andre said. “We just manage the work, but they’re the ones doing this vital work in the community,” Danny added. “They certainly deserve our support."

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