NORTH BAY, ON - Community paramedicine programs have recently been established in several areas of the province, including one in Nipissing District, and are showing positive results in helping seniors and other patients live independently longer, and reducing emergency room visits and hospital admissions.
The Ministry of Health and Long Term Care announced yesterday that the province is investing $6 million in the expansion and development of 30 community paramedicine programs.
Such a program has been working in the Nipissing District since July 14 of this year.
How it works here is the Quality Assurance supervisor who is also a specially trained paramedic for the District of Nipissing acts as the lead for two programs under community paramedicine:
CREMS which stands for Community Referral by EMS where all paramedics are trained to identify patients who may require additional care. These patients are then referred to Community Care Access Centres (CCAC) for additional care and support (with the client’s consent), often eliminating the need for an ambulance ride to the emergency room.
CAPS which stands for Community Assessment and Preventative Services programs where paramedics in rural areas assist in planning and implementing wellness clinics.
With this new funding, the paramedic will be able to provide these services two days/week in North Bay and one day/week in each of the other communities in Nipissing District. These clinics empower citizens to monitor their own health, and help
paramedics assess the health needs in these areas.
During the first two months of the community paramedicine program, five CREMS were submitted by paramedics in the North Bay area. In three cases where individuals had no previous support, further services and supports were provided by CCAC. In the remaining two cases, individuals who were clients of CCAC were provided extra assistance due to unforeseen circumstances identified by paramedics.
“The program has been working very well and the partnership with the CCAC is great,” says Jean-Guy Belzile, Manager of Nipissing District EMS. “The CCAC provides us with updates on the referrals paramedics have made, and together, we’re addressing the needs of citizens more efficiently.”The need for a community paramedicine program in Nipissing District had been identified during the development of DNSSAB’s strategic plan in 2011 and more recently, during the completion of the Nipissing District 10-year Housing and Homelessness Plan (2013).
The future of the program will likely see an expanded role for the Quality Assurance Supervisor to assist additional agencies (i.e., VON, Physician, Discharge Planning, etc.) through visits to a client’s residence to perform an assessment of vitals, monitoring the wellbeing of the clients, and providing feedback to the respective agency. It’s important to note that the paramedics are kept informed about the referral outcomes.
Paramedicine will be the subject of the keynote address delivered tomorrow (Thursday) at the EMS Symposium, taking place at the Clarion Resort, Pinewood Park. André Picard, one of Canada’s top public policy observers and the Public Health Reporter at the Globe and Mail, will be speaking on the subject of paramedicine tomorrow at 9:00 AM. He will be followed by Will Robin Young, a professor of paramedicine for the past 26 years.
The District of Nipissing Social Services Administration Board is responsible for the delivery of
social services, such as Ontario Works, Childcare related programs, Social Housing and
Emergency Medical Services/Land Ambulance throughout the District of Nipissing.