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January 7, 2019 2:35 pm EST
Updated: January 7, 2019 7:12 pm EST

Paramedics host drop-in clinics in Toronto Community Housing buildings

WATCH ABOVE: Toronto's first community paramedic-led clinic launched in 2017 and since that time has made huge stride in providing mental and physical health support for seniors and isolated Toronto residents with complex needs. The goal of this unique program is to bring medical care to the doorstep of Toronto residents reducing 911 calls. Susan Hay has the story.

At Glen Everest in Scarborough you’ll find a community paramedic clinic that’s helping people like Sharon Cooney manage their care.

“Since the paramedics started in my building, they’ve saved my life,” Cooney said.

Toronto’s first community paramedic-led clinic launched in 2017. Since then, they have made huge strides in providing mental and physical health support for seniors and isolated Toronto residents with complex needs.

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“I come every week, every week,” Cooney said. “They check my blood pressure, they check my oxygen levels.”

“We check heart rate and check blood sugars,” said Erin Stankevicius, community paramedic with Toronto Paramedic Services. “It gives us a really good opportunity to notice trends in someone’s health.”

The weekly drop-in clinics are hosted in Toronto Community Housing buildings and have become an alternative to calling 911.

READ MORE: Toronto police board approves hiring dozens of new 911 centre staff to address wait times

“We looked at 911 use in the area, and we picked the top buildings that had the highest 911 calls,” Stankevicius said. “By coming out and talking to the residents one-on-one, we’re able to identify a lot of gaps in community services and health care, and really try to rectify those systematic problems.”

“They come right to the door to make sure I’m okay if I can’t make it down to the lobby,” Cooney said. “It’s lovely. I mean, who does that?”

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“As a frontline paramedic, you’re doing 911 calls and you see a patient for a really short period of time in a crisis moment, and you bring them to the emergency department. That’s where it ends,” Stankevicius said.

“But here, in this role, I get to build relationships with people.”

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“I can’t say enough about these paramedics,” Cooney said.

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