The Ontario government is providing $340,000 for a community paramedicine program in Northumberland County to assist staff and frontline paramedics.
Northumberland-Peterborough South MPP David Piccini made the announcement on Friday morning alongside members of the Northumberland Ontario Health Team. He says the program will expand the role of paramedics to apply their skills and training beyond the traditional emergency response roles, including:
- Home visits to seniors or individuals known to call emergency services frequently, to provide a range of pre-emptive services (for example, ensuring they are taking their medications as prescribed);
- Educating seniors in their homes about chronic disease management and helping connect them to local supports, such as Diabetes Education Teams; and
- Helping refer patients to Community Care Northumberland so that they can be provided with the appropriate support services to remain independent within their own homes and communities.
Piccini says the program is part of the government’s plan to end “hallway health care” and support better patient-centered care.
“Today’s announcement means our residents will have improved access to care and the community support services they need,” Piccini said. “Community paramedicine helps patients get the right level of care at the right time, reduces unnecessary emergency room visits and hospital admissions. This program will also help seniors and patients with chronic conditions better manage their conditions and stay healthy.”
Bill Deltor, chief of Northumberland Paramedics, says the investment will enable paramedics to help deliver illness prevention and health promotion services.
“Through the community paramedicine program, Northumberland Paramedics will collaborate with community partners to deliver a more coordinated continuum of care for patients, while reducing demands on the emergency response system and alleviating chronic pressures within the health-care system,” he said.
“We are very excited to play an active role in local efforts to improve health outcomes as well as patient and caregiver experience of health care in our community.”
Linda Davis, Northumberland Hills Hospital CEO and spokesperson for the collaborative planning table of the Northumberland Ontario Health Team, says in early health team conversations, the county identified their vision for community paramedicine. The health team was officially announced in December 2019.
“The opportunity to improve access to care through a community paramedicine program was compelling, particularly for the most vulnerable residents experiencing barriers to health care within the county,” she said.
“As such, the OHT-N partners prioritized community paramedicine as one of three Year One projects. We believe this will have a direct impact on reducing hallway health care. On behalf of all the OHT-N partners we applaud the province for this investment, we commend Northumberland County and Northumberland Paramedics for their vision and perseverance, and we look forward to demonstrating positive system-level results, together.”