Paramedicine Program supports in-home care

In late 2021, Bruce County received funding from the Ontario Ministry of Long-Term Care to enhance the County’s Community Paramedicine program with an expanded focus on patients who are awaiting Long Term Care placement in the community or may soon be eligible for Long Term Care. The goal of this program expansion is to ensure this patient population is aging safely in their homes.

“Community Paramedicine is an evolving model of patient care that utilizes a Paramedic’s skills, knowledge, and mobile nature to enhance existing models of care in our community,” says Paramedic Services Chief Steve Schaus, “Palliative patients, community crisis patients, and high-risk seniors awaiting long term care in Bruce County are supported by the care provided through our Community Paramedicine program.”

Community Paramedicine works to complete both in-person and virtual visits that include physical assessments, vital signs monitoring, diagnostic tests or procedures, and point of care testing. Community Paramedics will be able to complete home safety scans, falls risk evaluations, and other proactive and preventative evaluations to keep patients safe in their homes. All of this is completed while ensuring connections and communications back to Primary Care Providers are established. Community Paramedics also have the ability to refer patients to other service providers, such as Home and Community Care Support Services, for further interventions and care as required.

Warden Janice Jackson adds, “This program is a significant opportunity for Bruce County residents and community health care partners. Supporting our residents that are most in need will help them remain in their own homes longer.”

Community Paramedicine in Bruce County was successfully launched in early 2021 with funding from Ontario Health West with an original mandate of supporting the palliative care population, seniors with increased needs, and patients that have difficulties accessing Primary Care or that may benefit from more frequent connections to the healthcare system. Often, these patients have multiple comorbidities, are attempting to manage chronic health conditions, and face other challenging social determinants of health.

In its initial year, the Bruce County Community Paramedicine program was able to collaborate with local Family Health Teams and Organizations, area Hospitals, and Home and Community Care Support Services to serve over 300 patients in our community. The outcomes of the program have not only had system-wide impacts, but have provided significant reassurance to patients, their families, and caregivers. With the overwhelming response to the Community Paramedicine Program, Paramedic Services will be expanding the program into the Saugeen Shores area. Through further provincial funding, this program will continue to expand and serve the residents and visitors of Bruce County in new and exciting ways.

Community Paramedicine programs have existed in Ontario for more than eight years, with a focus on reducing non-emergent 911 calls and Emergency Department visits through a variety of evidence-based programs tailored to each community’s specific needs.

About Bruce County Paramedic Services
Bruce County Paramedic Services employs a staff of about 100 Full-time and Part-time paramedics that provide pre-hospital care to citizens and visitors of Bruce County. We respond to medical and trauma emergencies with a fleet of 12 ambulances and 3 supervisor units that are stationed in 6 communities across the County but can be deployed anywhere as needed.

How to Refer – For Patients
To become a part of the Community Paramedicine program in Bruce County, please contact your Primary Care Provider (Physician or Nurse Practitioner), or your Home and Community Care Support Services Care Coordinator, to review eligibility criteria and further care planning. If you do not have a Primary Care Provider or Care Coordinator, please contact 519-881-1291 and ask to speak with the Community Paramedicine Team Assistant for further information.

How to Refer – For Health Care Providers
Contact your leadership team to see if a referral pathway already exists for the Community Paramedicine program in Bruce County. If there is no established referral pathway, please contact the Community Paramedicine Superintendent at 226-974-1374 for more information.