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Community Paramedicine

​​Community Paramedicine (CP) Programs

Community paramedicine programsCommunity Paramedicine programs provide opportunities for Paramedics to apply their training and skills in the community outside of their traditional 911 emergency response role.  CP programs promote Paramedics to work in collaboration with other health care professionals and community agencies to connect patients with needed health and community services. These connections assist patients to participate in their care, maintain independence and promote involvement in their communities.

Community Paramedicine goals include:

  • Improving quality of life and well-being
  • Reduce patient exacerbations and crisis requiring 911 response
  • Reduce emergency department visits and hospital admissions
  • Collaborate with patients' family doctors reducing the need for clinic visits

Examples of Community Paramedicine programs available within the County of Simcoe include:

  • Outreach services for frequent 911 callers,
  • In home chronic disease management including preventative care and education,
  • Connection to relevant health/social resources and services in the community, and
  • Health care system navigation

A strategic plan is underway for Community Paramedicine to look for growth and development opportunities throughout the County of Simcoe. 

Please click the links below to find out more about our exciting Community Paramedicine Programs.

Paramedic Referrals

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, the Paramedics gain the patient's permission to help to connect them to health services and other community resources in order to improve their; independence, ability to thrive in their 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 helped over 1900 patients to meet their social and health care needs since the program rolled out across the County in 2015.  On average, 67% 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 enhanced services had a 29% reduction in 911 calls six months after the Paramedic referral.

211 Ontario Partnership

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

Community Paramedicine Home Visit Program

This program started as part of 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.

Community Paramedics in the Home Visit Program work closely with patients and their Family Doctor to deliver in home chronic disease management, health education, health assessments and timely response to their worsening symptoms with the goal of preventing unnecessary 911 calls and transports to the emergency department.  This program is for patients with Heart Failure, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or Diabetes with Physicians who are a part of the Orillia Family Health Organization, living in Ramara, Oro-Medonte or Orillia.  The Community Paramedicine Home Visit Program can be accessed through a Physician referral. 

The County of Simcoe recently received support from the North Simcoe Muskoka Local Health Integrated Network to purchase a vehicle that will be dedicated to the Home Visit Program.  This vehicle provides freedom for the staff to work outside of the demands of the existing 911 system thereby allowing more opportunities for home visits and wellness checks within the current program areas. 

Click here to see the Community Paramedic Home Visit Program video.

Research

In 2016 the County of Simcoe Paramedic Service partnered with Dr. Gina Agarwal and the Department of Family Medicine, McMaster University in a research study to look at the impact of Paramedics collaborating in community healthcare and disease prevention.  The CP@clinic program was implemented in two seniors' buildings in Simcoe County, and provided a Paramedic drop in community health and wellness clinic.  Dr. Gina Agarwal and the McMaster team found a 15% reduction in 911 use in Ontario senior's buildings where these clinics were offered.   The study period ended November 2016. 

Building on the existing partnership with Dr. Gina Agarwal and the Department of Family Medicine, McMaster University, the County of Simcoe is exploring a research opportunity to evaluate the impact on 911 calls by providing in home support to patents who have demonstrated high 911 use related to chronic diseases and social determinants of health.  This program is currently under development at McMaster University, and is called the CP@Home program.

The County of Simcoe Community Paramedicine Program is exploring opportunities to incorporate research based programs to improve access to care for high risk individuals, residential buildings, and communities.

Please check back in the future for more information and updates on Community Paramedicine.

For more information about Community Paramedicine, contact:

Kyle MacCallum
Program Coordinator, Community Paramedicine
705-726-9300 x1688