Community paramedicine is an evolving model of community-based health care in which paramedics function outside their traditional emergency response and transport. The program aims to support individuals to access collaborative resources in order to reduce dependency on 911 and possible transports to the local emergency department.
Main goals of community paramedicine
- Reduce the number of repeat emergency medical services calls
- Reduce the number of low acuity patients in the emergency department transported by paramedics
- Enable vulnerable/at risk individuals and older adults to live safely in their own homes and reduce the use of more costly care, such as acute care hospitals and long-term care
- The right service at the right time to the right client
- Complete the client’s “wrap-around” care
- Improve client care and system coordination
- Process development to ensure patient is connected to best suited resource for assessment and service provision
- Collaboration, partnership development amongst stakeholders
- Improve health outcomes for high risk, vulnerable seniors in the community
- Process development for managing crisis mental health issues
- Improve paramedic job gratification
- Improve service provider satisfaction
- Expansion of the patient’s circle of care and collaborative care plan
The Community Paramedicine Program includes:
In the course of responding to a 911 call, any paramedic can submit a formal referral to a partner agency for additional assessments on behalf of patients with unmet needs having received the patient’s consent. All patients can be referred regardless of whether they are transported to hospital or not.
Paramedic home visits
There are several occasions when a home visit is conducted:
- Paramedic referrals occur whenever the patient gives consent. However, if refused, the referral is transferred to the Community Paramedicine coordinators who will visit the patient’s residence to address the concern.
- The patient is a shared client with another agency/community partner. The community paramedic is asked to visit the patient to reduce duplication of assessments.
- Clients that are considered as frequent 911 users.
Community Health Assessment program (CHAP)
CHAP-EMS is composed of clinics run by community paramedics. Researchers from McMaster University in partnership with Guelph-Wellington Paramedic Service are working together to host clinics in buildings identified by Wellington Social Housing with focus on the prevention of chronic conditions, predominately high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease risk, and to reduce the risk of falls, in mostly older adults living in subsidized housing. Older adults are more at risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes and experiencing falls which can lead to 911 emergency calls resulting in expensive emergency room visits.
File of Life (fridge magnet)
The File of Life program is meant to provide quick and easy access to basic medical information to first responders if an individual is unable to provide the information themselves. It is a magnetic folder that can be easily kept on the refrigerator for speedy access in the event of an emergency. It includes personal information, medical conditions, medications and allergies.
Community Paramedic remote patient monitoring
People that suffer from congested heart failure (CHF), diabetes (DM) and/or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) will be monitored remotely through technology to recognize exacerbations and trends to improve patients health awareness and decrease dependency on emergency services and hospitals admissions.
Public Access Defibrillator loaner program
The general public may borrow an automated external defibrillator (AED), at no cost, for short-term community and family events within the city of Guelph and county of Wellington.