Community Paramedicine Initiative a success

BCEHS plans to expand the program to communities across the North Island

British Columbia’s first Community Paramedicine Initiative is improving access to health care in Port Hardy.

Since 2015, qualified B.C. paramedics have been providing in-home care in non-urgent settings in remote communities that are underserved and have aging populations with chronic and complex diseases.

First launched in Port Hardy in April 2015, the program is proving successful.

Kathleen Ilett, who works in community paramedicine with the BC Emergency health services, said she sees the impact the program is making. “I’ve noticed a big difference. A lot of the people we normally see now are the people we used to take to the emergency room.”

One of the goals of the program is to bridge health service delivery gaps in the community, so people who need either short or long term on-going care can receive the health care they need without having to access emergency services.

“With a little education and assistance people can stay in their homes,” said Illet.

Another goal of the program is to contribute to the stabilization of paramedic staffing in rural and remote communities, by supplementing paramedic shifts with non-urgent care duties.

“One of the best things is the direct liaison with the family doctors,” Ilett said, who added the goal is to see 80 new full-time equivalent paramedics to support community paramedicine programs. “We are hoping it’s going to stabilize the medical shortage overall.”

BCEHS plans to expand the program to communities across the North Island, including Port McNeill, Port Alice, Sointula, Alert Bay, and Sayward by September.

– Hanna Petersen article.

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