The Lanark County Paramedic Service is beginning to look to the future regarding how it will be able to assist a growing seniors population in the County. The number of Ontarians over age 65 is expected to double in the next 20 years, so the paramedic service will be looking at programs that can assist these seniors while building new partnerships with our allied health professionals.
The Service has been meeting with many of the health care agencies in the County to build health care linkages. These meetings have helped to increase the level of communication between the Service and the various agencies.
A Community Paramedicine program would allow paramedics to step outside their traditional role of emergency providers into a secondary role of assisting our seniors who may benefit from health care services outside of the traditional hospital model. The main goal of the program is to develop a proactive approach to health care for our seniors that would allow them to remain in their homes for as long as they wish, instead of moving to other residential care.
The review will include the use of a vulnerable senior identification program, known as the Community Referral by EMS Program (CREMS). This program will allow the paramedics to identify seniors in our community who may need additional home care services.
The Service will also review the need for a Visiting in the Home program which would see paramedics drop in on certain seniors (identified by their health care provider) to offer them support via a routine medical check or to just provide a friendly ear to talk to. These short visits would allow the paramedics to ensure that the senior remains healthy and in their home.
The final step of the review is to ensure that the paramedic staff is up to date on the latest education programs dealing with geriatric health issues. The Service will look to our allied partners for assistance and guidance to ensure that we are able to meet the challenges ahead.
The Lanark County Paramedic Service is committed to maintaining its high level of pre-hospital emergency care to the citizens of Lanark County. By reviewing how we can best address the upcoming challenges for our senior population, the Service should be well positioned to assist our citizens in the years to come.
Ed McPherson is Chief of the Lanark County Paramedic Service