With a focus on seniors and other vulnerable populations, Alberta Health Services recently expanded their mobile community paramedic program to the north, south and central zones.
The program allows paramedics to travel in home to provide on-site care for non-emergency visits for seniors and other vulnerable populations with chronic conditions.
Dal Weiss is the Executive Director for the North Sector EMS Operations for AHS, and he says the focus of this program is on continuing care sights, which helps to reduce the number of non-emergency calls tying up ambulances, hospital beds, and acute care resources.
“This provides an option for a community paramedic, who is in a SUV type vehicle, to respond, and they have assessment tools available to them to assess the patient, do some treatments with the patient there, and then perhaps refer them to other programs that are available within the community that are appropriate for the patient.”
He goes on to say that this is a big deal for seniors and their families, when a trip to the hospital can cause more worry and stress than necessary.
“So if you have elderly couples, we can go in and asses and treat one of them it avoids the separation of the couple, and it also makes a big difference to families. Having this option for them (seniors) to be able to stay at home is a big advantage, as opposed to getting a call saying that your mom or dad has gone to the hospital.”
The $11 million program expansion is expected to support some 20,000 additional Albertans, with 46 total new community paramedics being added.
20 of them will go to the existing programs in Calgary and Edmonton, and for now, 26 paramedics will be dedicated to the north, south, and central zones
The Red Deer, Camrose, and Wetaskiwin area had their program begin last week, and it'll expand to the north and south zones later on this spring.