March 7, 2020 – Tucked in the heart of the community, Horizon’s Neguac Health Centre is a place where patients and clients get the care they need, close to home.
The health centre is a family practice that services the primarily francophone community of Neguac and its outlying communities, which also includes Esgenoôpetitj First Nation.
It’s staffed by two physicians, a licensed practical nurse, administrative support staff, and Registered Nurse Jacqueline Savoie, who also serves as its coordinator.
Dr. Adrien Melanson and Dr. Lauza Picard, have their practices at the centre. On a typical week, one works Monday to Wednesday, while the other works Thursday and Friday
The two physicians work collaboratively with the health centre team to support patients. If, for example, one is on vacation, patients can make an appointment with the other, so the continuum of care is always maintained.
Each Monday and Thursday, the health centre offers lab services for blood work.
“Most of our patients know if they are required to have bloodwork done, we’ll book it within two or three weeks, sooner if necessary,” said Jacqueline. “The same goes for physician appointments, patients are usually seen within a week and sooner if it is urgent.”
This kind of community care is important to keep people from making the hour and 20-minute round trip to Horizon’s Miramichi Regional Hospital.
“Having this kind of care in Neguac alleviates the pressure on the emergency room at the hospital,” said Jacqueline. “So if we can save patients a trip to the emergency room, we’re going to do that.”
Patients can access the health centre for clinical services and appointments with their provider. Staff work together with Horizon’s Public Health teams to provide injections, and adult vaccinations.
“In this region, we have a great number of tobacco smokers,” Jacqueline said. “We offer the Ottawa Model for Smoking Cessation.”
The Regional Diabetes Program provides monthly clinics, which include a case manager, registered nurse and a registered dietitian.
Support and therapy
A speech therapist is available weekly for the assessment and treatment of speech and communication disorders for youth. A registered dietitian is available weekly for weight- loss counselling.
Staff at the health centre are capable of testing urine, throat swabs, and blood for clotting problems; and there are videoconferencing capabilities.
“Patients can have face-to-face communications with different professionals like psychologists, and any provider who can accommodate, without having to travel the distance,” said Jacqueline. “Patients can also attend Cardiac Wellness sessions through videoconferencing.”
When there is a service that’s unavailable at the health centre, patients will be referred to another specialist or to Horizon’s Miramichi Regional Hospital for care.
“There are a few times where we have to send someone to the hospital, but if we can provide the service, at the health centre, we will,” said Jacqueline. “We want to keep people in the community for their care.”
Renovations to the health centre were completed in September 2019 and the layout of the clinic has changed.
The former main entrance is now for staff only, while patient and clients use the right entrance, next to the wheelchair ramp. Once inside the waiting area is to the right, and the new reception desk protects the privacy of staff and any patient information.
“Neguac shares a common goal of all New Brunswickers, which is to be able to access quality health care, right at home,” said Jean Daigle, VP of Community for Horizon. “Patients and clients have their health centre with its community-based services, but when it’s needed, Horizon’s Miramichi Regional Hospital isn’t too far away.”