Community Paramedicine is exploring opportunities for paramedics to apply their training and skills within the community beyond the traditional role previously isolated to emergency response. Paramedics will work in collaboration with other health care professionals to assist patients, like seniors with complex conditions, to access health and community services allowing them to live independently in their homes and communities. Examples of community paramedicine initiatives can include:
- Proactive outreach and services to frequent 911 callers
- Chronic disease management and patient education
The Government of Ontario is funding the expansion of community paramedicine programs across the province. Through this funding opportunity, the County of Simcoe initiated its local community paramedicine program, Paramedic Access to Community Healthcare (PATCH) in January 2015. Read the full news release Ontario Expanding Community Role for Paramedics from the Government of Ontario (January 2014).
Paramedic Access to Community Healthcare (PATCH) is a pilot community paramedicine project in Simcoe County focusing on the Royal Victoria Hospital paramedic services catchment area. The focus of PATCH is on high-risk seniors and frequent low-acuity 911 callers. PATCH project partners are working together to identify patients, provide them with appropriate health service referrals to assist them to stay healthy and safe longer in their homes. It is hoped that this approach will result in a reduction of 911 calls and subsequent emergency department visits.
- Collect and analyze important data to determine if these programs/approaches have a positive impact on patients, health care service providers, and the health care system
- Reduce number of 911 calls and subsequent emergency department visits
- Develop a sustainable approach to mitigate increased demand on the healthcare system, including paramedic services
- Utilize partnerships, existing programs, and skill sets within the local health care community to enhance patient care
PATCH Partnership Agencies
The partnership agencies form the Project Steering Committee, and meet monthly to discuss the progress of the project, information learned, and to identify any potential new partnerships to support the project goals. Project partners are:
- County of Simcoe Paramedic Services
- North Simcoe Muskoka Community Care Access Centre (NSM CCAC)
- Health Quality Ontario
- Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
- Barrie Family Health Team
- Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)
Through the course of the PATCH project, new partnerships have been established with:
- Barrie Police Collaborative "The Hub"
- County of Simcoe Social Housing Department
- Barrie retirement Homes
- Alcohol-Drug Withdrawal Management Centre (Detox)
How PATCH is Making a Difference
The PATCH project began with an in-depth analysis of frequent users of the County of Simcoe Paramedic Services. A group of 99 patients who called 911 five or more times in 12 months resulting in over 700 non-acute transports to Royal Victoria Hospital were identified for the pilot project. The target set for the pilot project aim is to reduce the number of low acuity transports of the 99 patients to Royal Victoria Hospital by 20% by October 31, 2015. Various methods are being undertaken to achieve this aim, including conducting patient interviews, in-field referrals by paramedics, and establishing partnerships with health and community service providers.
As of May 2015:
- 12 patient interviews have been conducted
- 48 in-field referrals have been made by paramedics
- 87% of referrals have resulted in follow-up with health and community service providers
For more information about the PATCH project, contact:
Deputy Chief, Performance, Quality & Development