Community Paramedicine in Ontario
Community Paramedicine allows paramedics to apply their training and skills beyond the traditional role of providing emergency response. Working in collaboration with other health care professionals, community paramedics provide services that help patients, like seniors with complex conditions, to live independently in their homes and communities.
These services can include:
- Proactive outreach and services to frequent 911 callers
- Chronic disease management and patient education
- Community CPR training
Many local Emergency Medical Services providers in Ontario and their health partners have implemented or are planning to implement community paramedicine initiatives to help seniors and other patients with chronic conditions manage their conditions better, stay healthy and reduce requests for 911 services.
Programs Across Ontario
There are currently 13 community paramedicine programs in Ontario covering half of Ontario's population. This includes programs in:
- Chatham- Kent
- Grey Bruce
- Thunder Bay
In 2014, approximately 10 additional municipalities and Emergency Medical Services providers are planning to implement community paramedicine initiatives. This could increase the level of access to 80 per cent of the population once these new initiatives become operational.
Benefits of Community Paramedicine
Toronto's Community Referrals by Emergency Medical Services program focuses on paramedics referring at-risk patients to the Toronto Central CCAC. A six-month study of this program found that when paramedics responding to emergency calls referred patients to community services, there was a 50 per cent decrease in the number of repeated 911 calls and a 65 per cent decrease in the number of emergency department transports.