The Lanark County Paramedic Service (LCPS) and Almonte General Hospital (AGH) are pleased to announce an injection of funding from the Ontario government to expand their Community Paramedicine Program (CPP). This funding will provide additional support for eligible seniors with 24/7 access to community paramedicine services including non-emergency home visits, wellness checks, and in-home diagnostic testing and treatments.
LCPS began working on establishing a CPP in 2016, launching a pilot program in 2018. They haven’t looked back since. “The County Council recently recognized LCPS for their dedicated service to the community and the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Their hard work is making a difference. The Community Paramedics will now be able to do even more with this additional government support,” notes Mary Wilson Trider, President and CEO, Almonte General Hospital.
The Community Paramedics have an ever-expanding roster of clients who have difficulty accessing care. They often require various treatments that can be completed by trained paramedics in their home rather than in hospital. This additional funding will allow for the launch of a three-year Community Paramedic Long-Term Care Pilot Program. It will provide proactive, specialized care to residents waiting for long-term care. It will also include the addition of remote patient monitoring.
“As Carleton Place & District Memorial Hospital’s Chief of Staff and a local family physician, I have witnessed the outstanding work of our local Community Paramedics, especially during the pandemic,” says Dr. Jamie Fullerton. “From being the backbone of our community COVID testing to providing timely home visits for isolated patients, they have proven irreplaceable. These home visits have proven to be immensely effective at helping physicians to proactively keep our patients where they most often wish to be – in their own homes. The local physicians are excited that this program will continue.”
“We have a significant number of residents on the long-term care waitlist and this initiative will help ensure they receive the right care in the right place,” explains LCPS Chief Travis Mellema. “This is a significant milestone in the development of our program. I would like to recognize the many paramedics and management staff in our Service who have worked tirelessly over the past several years to grow and build this program from its infancy. I’m very proud to be able to work with such an amazing group of individuals.”
The Lanark County CPP has served 276 clients since its pilot launch in 2018. This care ramped up significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic when many clients found it difficult to access primary care. In fact, referrals for the program rose by 267% in 2020 as compared to 2019.
Last year, Community Paramedics completed more than 400 home visits at the request of physicians, discharge nurses, and home and community care providers. “We act as a liaison between clients and their Nurse Practitioner or Primary Care Provider and we also provide medical treatments in consultation with physicians,” adds Chief Mellema. “Additionally, our team has provided in-home Influenza vaccines and COVID-19 testing for high risk or mobility challenged individuals. We will also be extending this practice with the COVID-19 vaccines.”
The Lanark County Paramedic Service provides emergency response service for an area encompassing almost 3,000 square kilometres with a population of over 70,000. It responds to approximately 25,000 calls for service each year.