Community paramedic program finds new home and succeeds in Leeds and Grenville

A community paramedic program south of Ottawa has seen success over the past year, visiting more than 1,000 area residents in their homes or virtually, reducing pressure on emergency calls.

The old Elizabethtown-Kitley Fire Hall in Frankville, Ontario. now serves as the new home for the program.

“The way it works is we get referrals from family physicians, health care teams, through the provincial portal with Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) programs as well only through 911 and paramedic referrals,” said Jonathan Sylvester, Community Paramedic Outreach Program. Superintendent.

“Patients are identified as needing additional support, and we are able to arrange scheduled visits with community paramedics to see them in their homes to identify and seek to help them with any needs so to stay home, healthier and safer at home.”

The program offers non-emergency response, using vehicles that look like an ambulance, emblazoned with “Community Paramedic” on the side.

“We also have smaller responding SUVs, without lights or sirens, in the community to do these tours,” Sylvester added.

Most patients are waiting for a long-term care bed or have the potential to be in long-term care, with visits scheduled weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or for varying lengths, depending on their home. Needs.

“Some of the things we’ll do are basic vital signs checks, full assessments, we might do heart monitoring, review medications, medication compliance, medication compliance,” Sylvester said.

Other monitoring can also be done remotely, helping paramedics monitor patients more closely and then communicate those results to their doctors or healthcare teams.

“By identifying these patients in the community, we may be able to keep them at home, healthier and with their families longer, if that is their goal of care, to wait out the period when long-term care term could become available to them,” Sylvester said.

An SUV used by the Leeds and Grenville Paramedic Service for the Community Paramedic Program. (Nate Vandermeer/CTV News Ottawa)

The Community Paramedic Program visited clients in their homes more than 1,600 times in 2021 and conducted more than 300 virtual visits, successfully reducing 911 calls and emergency room visits.

“We did pretty well,” said Leeds & Grenville paramedic chief Jeff Carss. “We’ve seen a drop in our repeat calls to 911, so we know we’re having a significant impact on these people.”

“One of the main goals we were hoping for is to be able to reduce 911 calls, which in turn reduces hospital visits and hospital stays,” Carss added. “Hopefully we can keep people off their sickness trajectory at home and keep them safe at home.”

Carss says the program has also changed the way care is delivered, becoming proactive instead of reactionary.

“We respond to 911 calls or service calls when they come in, I think that’s the natural progression where we move into a preventative model, trying to help people and take care of them before they come in. ‘They don’t become an emergency and they need that emergency transport and hospital care,’ he added.

“The home visiting paramedics are paramedics who have a lot of experience on the road, in emergency situations,” Sylvester said. “We’re able to take what they know about an emergency, what’s causing an emergency, and almost reverse-engineer it so we can try to anticipate what some of those emergencies might be before. they happen, put things in place before that emergency happens, and we’re able to keep them at home, out of the emergency room, out of long-term care, out of a hospital bed. hospital admission for much longer.”

“Growth is exponential at this point. We have new intakes every day, we are making leaps and bounds in terms of both what we are able to do from a valuation perspective as well as our number of customers,” he added.

Leeds and Grenville Paramedic Service Chief Jeff Carss discusses the new Community Paramedic Program with Supt. Jonathan Sylvester Thursday. (Nate Vandermeer/CTV News Ottawa)

The program offers home visits 12 hours a day, seven days a week, with phone calls answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

For those seeking home care, Sylvester says the best way is to ask their family doctor or health care team, or a care coordinator within the LHIN, where they can request a reference.

“It’s definitely a movement within paramedicine as a whole, it’s broadening the reach,” Sylvester added.

Both men say families have praised the program for keeping loved ones closer, longer.

“Very positive feedback, everyone is really happy with what’s provided,” Carss said. “The care we give people in their homes keeps them in their homes.”

“I think overall most patients would say that’s their goal, to stay home, healthy and happy,” Sylvester added.

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Edward L. Robinett