The County of Simcoe Paramedic Referral Program is initiated by Paramedics in the field identifying health and social needs with patients that they visit on 911 calls. In discussion with the patient, Paramedics help connect them with health services and other community resources in order to improve their; independence, ability to thrive at home, and to assist with social needs as necessary. The Community Paramedicine Coordinator, receives the referral and helps the patient navigate the community health care system and ensures that the patient's needs are met whenever possible.
The Paramedic Referral Program has built strong partnerships in community healthcare and has referred over 3000 patients to help meet their social and health care needs since the program rolled out across the County in 2015. Over 60% of referrals result in the patient receiving one or more services, depending on the needs of the individual. It is common for patients to have multiple service needs. An analysis of 911 calls for referred patients six months prior to and six month post enrolment in the program has been performed, and showed patients who received new or increased services had a 30% reduction in 911 calls six months after the Paramedic referral.
The County of Simcoe has strengthened an existing partnership with 211 Ontario by building them into the Paramedic Referral Program. For patients in need of social or community support services, 211 Ontario provides system navigation and performs additional service referrals. The County of Simcoe Paramedic Service alongside 211 Ontario have been working to serve and adapt to the changing needs of the community.
In Ontario, 2-1-1 is an easy to remember three-digit phone number to help people connect to community, social, health and government services in their own community. 2-1-1 is staffed by Community Navigators who help people identify, understand and effectively use the programs that are part of the human services delivery system. Community Navigators advocate on behalf of those who need special support, and they conduct follow up in situations where someone is a risk and/or vulnerable. Community Navigators are prepared to assess and meet the immediate, short-term needs of inquirers who are experiencing a crisis. The bilingual service is available 24/7 and has interpretation support in more than 150 languages.
Learn more about 211 Ontario or search for services at https://www.simcoe.ca/SocialServices/Pages/211-ontario.aspx
The Community Paramedic Home Visit program began as a pilot in Ramara Township to see if Paramedic response times to 911 calls could be improved and if the local family health team would be willing to partner in a home visit program for their chronic disease patients. The pilot was successful in reducing response times and added value by providing patients with chronic disease management. The Community Paramedicine Home Visit pilot was made a permanent resource in 2017.
The County of Simcoe Community Paramedicine Home Visit Program supports patients to stay healthy and independent in their own homes. The program offers integrated, in-home care by Community Paramedics. Community Paramedics receive additional training and specialize in CHF (Congestive Heart Failure), COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and Diabetes. They maintain a direct connection with the patient's Primary Care Provider and can minimize the need for 9-1-1 calls and hospital visits.
The program is offered throughout the County of Simcoe at no cost to the patient.
How do Community Paramedics help?
Community Paramedics work in collaboration with local health service providers and act as an extension of primary care to support patients to manage their chronic health conditions. Community Paramedics provide comprehensive in-home health assessments, including checking vital signs and blood work, providing vaccinations, and helping patients understand how to manage their health conditions.
Community Paramedics consult the patient's physician or nurse practitioner in real time, facilitating changes to medications and treatment plans at home. Patients enrolled in the program have direct telephone access to Community Paramedics when they experience increased or worsening symptoms, often preventing the need to go to the hospital
Services Provided by County of Simcoe Community Paramedics
Community Paramedics can perform the followingWellness Checks
- Physical Assessments
- Other Assessments, including Frailty Score, Rapid Geriatric, ADl/iADL, Snellen, Home Safety, PPS, CAT, ESAS, mMRC
- Home Safety Scans
- Vital Signs (including ECG)
- Blood Work (Electrolytes, Blood Urea Nitrogen, Creatinine, Glucose, Hemoglobin, Hematocrit, INR)
- COVID-19 Testing
- Influenza and COVID-19 Vaccinations
- Chronic Disease Management
- Patient Education
- Medication Compliance
- Medication Administration
- Exacerbation Support & Symptom Relief
How to Join
If you, your family member, or your patient requires in-home support to manage chronic CHF, COPD and/or Diabetes, please complete a referral form (link below) or call 705-726-9300 ext. 1579.
To refer yourself or your patient to the Community Paramedicine Home Visit Program complete the referral form: Community Program Referral Form.pdf
What Happens Next?
Upon acceptance into the program, an initial home visit will be scheduled. During the initial visit, the Community Paramedic will get to know the patient, their medical conditions, and current treatments and supports currently in place. They will answer any questions, schedule a follow-up appointment and make suggestions for any additional supports that may be available. In addition, the patient will be provided with a phone number to consult with a Community Paramedic directly should their symptoms worsen or they need to reschedule a visit.
Click here to view the Community Paramedic Home Visit Program video.
Community Paramedics conduct wellness clinics in shelters across the County of Simcoe as part of this specialized program. Community Paramedics offer clients experiencing homelessness wellness checks, physical assessments, vital signs (including ECG and blood sugar), patient education, health care system navigation and referrals to community services.
How can Community Paramedics help?
Community Paramedics provide comprehensive health assessments, including checking vital signs, COVID testing, vaccinations, and helping patients understand how to manage their health conditions. They work in collaboration with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), primary-care providers, and the County of Simcoe's social and community services.