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Unique Pilot Project Helping Seniors in York Region Live Independently at Home

Expanding Paramedicine in the Community Delivering Non-Emergency Care

Ontario is renewing its support for its successful community paramedicine program in York Region, which helps seniors and people in our community with chronic health conditions receive non-emergency care from a paramedic, often in their own home.

Last year, this program helped 119 people in York Region receive care from a paramedic who went above and beyond their usual emergency-response role, with services including:

  • Check-in calls to frequent users of 911 to see how the person is doing, and determine if there is a proactive way the paramedic can help, such as referring the person to appropriate health care services
  • Home visits for seniors, or others who may be at risk of losing their independence at home, to offer companionship, care and referrals
  • Routine health services, such as blood pressure checks and blood glucose checks, for people who may not have otherwise easily accessed these services
  • Education by paramedics to help people learn about healthy living and chronic disease prevention.

The community paramedicine program helps people access care closer to home, where we know they want to be. Data shows that the program has helped to reduce 911 calls, hospital admissions and ambulance transports.

53-year-old, Stephen Knight has a medical history of Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Prior to his enrollment in the Expanding Paramedicine in the Community (EPIC) program, Stephen had complained of chest pain over a period of two years, symptoms associated with a previous heart attack.  

During the second visit with a community paramedic from EPIC, it was determined that Stephen’s symptoms were indicative of a heart condition. The paramedic performed a 12-Lead echocardiogram (ECG), provided Stephen with health education and encouraged him to record his symptoms, including pain onset, duration and level of pain.  

The test results and assessment findings, combined with the suspicion of ischemic chest pains, were documented in Stephen’s Electronic Medical Record and shared with his family physician. Stephen’s family physician ordered additional tests. Shortly thereafter, he completed a coronary angiography and had open-heart surgery within three months.  

Since the surgery, Stephen has made a complete recovery and is no longer experiencing chest pain. He continues to receive support from the EPIC program and is grateful to the paramedics for their proactive approach to care which prevented a more serious health episode. 

Ontario is increasing access to care, reducing wait times and improving the patient experience through its Patient’s First Action Plan for Health Care and OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare – protecting health care today and into the future.

QUOTES

“Paramedics are highly skilled health professionals who can now go beyond their traditional role of emergency response and provide proactive care to those who need it most. Patients in York Region, particularly seniors and those with chronic conditions, have better access to medical care, allowing them to continue to live independently in their homes and communities, where they want to be.”— Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

“The community paramedicine program is a great way to leverage the skills and training of paramedics here in the York Region to help serve not just those in acute crisis, but those who have chronic conditions in our community. As a physician, I know how important this kind of care is in helping to reduce emergency room visits and hospital admissions,” — Dr. Helena Jaczek, M.P.P., Oak Ridges-Markham 

“Community paramedicine is an innovative model of community-based healthcare that enables proactive outreach and referral to health and community services for at-risk patients. Through regular check-ins, patient education and access to primary care, paramedics help people with chronic health conditions remain safely at home while reducing unnecessary emergency department visits and hospital admissions.”

— Kim Baker, Chief Executive Officer, Central Local Health Integration Network

QUICK FACTS

  • To date, Ontario’s pilot paramedicine programs have helped 21,317 patients across Ontario, resulted in over 44,014 completed patient assessments and over 5,000 referrals to appropriate health care services.
  • This year, Ontario is investing $375,000 in York Region community paramedicine, which is part of a $6 million province-wide investment.
  • The province has invested $17.8 million to support the development and expansion of community paramedicine programs across Ontario since 2014.

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