Seniors living at home have been the biggest beneficiaries so far of the provincial paramedicine program. Photo credit: Contributed

Seniors benefit from paramedicine initiative

Enhancing home health care philosophy across Interior Health

A program using paramedics to enhance health care services in rural communities is continuing to gain momentum.

In 2015, prototype community paramedic positions were posted in nine communities, including in Creston and Princeton within Interior Health.

Services provided by community paramedics can include checking blood pressure, assisting with diabetes care, helping to identify fall hazards, medication assessment, post-injury or illness evaluate and assisting with respiratory conditions.

The goal within IH is to initially expand the program to reach 31 communities, including Lumby, Nakusp, New Denver, Revelstoke and Sicamous.

Pending government funding, the program will be pushed further to Ashcroft, Barriere, Castlegar, Chase, Cranbrook, Grand Forks, Kimberley, Merritt and Osoyoos by June 2018.

IH board chairman Doug Cochrane called the program a means of strengthening a bond between primary health care providers and patients.

“This is bringing a sense of humanity back to health care like we have not seen before,” Cochrane said.

Related: NDP tackles seniors’ residential gap

The partnership between community paramedics and IH staff in a non-emergency response setting is raising hopes of a decline in medically unnecessary 911 calls and emergency room visits, says Nancy Kotani, chief transformation officer for B.C. Emergency Health Services.

While she thinks that trend is becoming more apparent, the statistical impact of the program is still gathering data to prove that anecdotal analysis.

“We are creating an opportunity to help people self-manage their chronic health conditions and the support through the paramedicine program to do that,” Kotani said.

The paramedicine initiative gives paramedics who have completed the Justice Institute program training full-time status positions that otherwise likely wouldn’t exist.

Kotani said Interior CP patient referrals are largely in the 65 to 85 age bracket, older people often living on their own with chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart failure or obstructive pulmonary disease.

From January 2016 to September 2017, Kotani noted Interior CPs have made a total of 1,125 home visits.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@BarryGerding
barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Three candidates drop out of Central Okanagan municipal election

Two running for Peachland/OK West trustee and OK East rural director candidate step aside

Ancestral remains uncovered at Fintry to be reburied

Remains found along Shorts Creek in Fintry Provincial Park during flood remediation measures

Okanagan Rail Trail to officially open

Thursday, Sept. 27, 11 a.m., Oyama Boat Launch, Wood Lake; public welcome

Growing Okanagan tech sector hailed in new report

Study shows sector employees 12, 474 workers and is worth $1.67 billion to regional economy

Order of St. John donates $50,000 to JoeAnna’s House project at Kelowna General Hospital

The donation will help build the home-away-from-home for out-of-town families of patients at KGH

Your weekend weather update

Rain continues to move right across the Okanagan, Shuswap and Similkameen.

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

Low risk associated with case of pneumococcal disease in the South Okanagan

No identified risk to the public from recent case of pneumococcal disease with associated meningitis

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Yukon man facing new attempted murder charge in B.C. exploding mail case

Leon Nepper, 73, is now facing one charge each of aggravated assault and attempted murder

Most Read