Frequently Asked Questions

What is the NB Trauma Program?
The NB Trauma Program works to prevent injuries, ensure coordinated trauma care and provide trauma-related educational and research opportunities to healthcare professionals in New Brunswick. This work is accomplished by providing leadership and coordination with our program partners – the New Brunswick Department of Health, Horizon Health Network, Vitalité Health Network and Ambulance New Brunswick.  To see a list of NB Trauma Program staff, please click here.

Why is there a program for trauma in New Brunswick?
Trauma is the leading cause of death among New Brunswickers aged 1 to 44, accounting for 420 lives lost every year. Beyond that, trauma requires over 77,000 New Brunswickers to visit an Emergency Department every year – over 6,000 of who are so seriously injured that they need to be admitted to the hospital.

Although trauma is clearly most devastating for patients and their families, the impact of trauma on our province as a whole is significant. Trauma brings significant cost to the healthcare system in New Brunswick. The direct cost of hospital care (the equipment, supplies, physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals required to care for trauma patients) is $400 Million every year.

These statistics – and others – are published in the Cost of Injury in Canada report, available from Parachute, the national injury prevention organization that created the report.

What counts as a “trauma”?
We use the World Health Organization’s definition: a serious physical injury to a person’s body caused by a sudden exposure to energy at levels that exceed the normal human tolerance, such as heat or the lack of one or more vital elements, such as oxygen. This type of injury has the potential to cause prolonged disability or death.

Where is trauma care available in New Brunswick?
Trauma (or injury) care is available at all New Brunswick hospitals. Most hospitals in New Brunswick have been designated as trauma centres.

What are the differences in levels of Trauma Centres?
Accreditation Canada classifies trauma centres on a scale from Level 1 to Level 5. Level 1 and 2 trauma centres provide leadership and offer the most complex care; level 3 trauma centres serve smaller communities but still offer a range of trauma care, including surgery, if required. Level 5 trauma centres offer immediate, critical interventions before calling us to arrange patient transfer to another facility. For more information about New Brunswick’s trauma centres, click here.

What happens when someone is brought to a trauma centre?
When a person is injured and arrives at a trauma centre (either on their own or by ambulance), they are first assessed to determine how serious their injuries are. If critical procedures need to be done, these are completed immediately. If the person’s injuries meet specific criteria, the physician at the level 3 or 5 trauma centre is able to call the toll-free trauma referral line to discuss the best options for care of the patient.

What happens when a physician calls the toll-free trauma referral line?
For physicians and other health-care professionals, the system is seamless. One call to the toll-free trauma referral system starts a cascade of activity that includes providing immediate clinical guidance and support for the physician at the smaller trauma centre. When transfer is required, we notify the trauma centre that will receive the patient and Ambulance New Brunswick sends a paramedic crew to complete the transfer by ground or by air.

Is the system working?
YES. Since the NB Trauma Program was implemented in 2010 we have seen a significant, sustained reduction in the time required for major trauma patients to get the care they need. With the NB Trauma Registry now in place, we can also see improvements in the care offered to patients. Our work is not done. With significant improvement in access to trauma care, we are now focused on enhancing the quality and comprehensiveness of trauma care available within the province. This ranges from new equipment in Emergency Departments to updated protocols, guidelines and education that reflect the best medical evidence for paramedics, nurses and physicians across the province. We also recognize the importance of early and comprehensive rehabilitation services for trauma patients as key to their ability to get back home. Together with our continued effort in injury prevention, these efforts help save the lives of New Brunswickers.

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