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Paramedicine program eyed to reduce frequent trips to hospitals

Posted March 20, 2014

Simcoe County's Paramedic Services is pitching for one-time funding of about $300,000 that would target the "non-emergent primary care needs of seniors and other vulnerable members of the community."

The "innovative program" would "support community-driven community paramedicine activities that contribute to:
  • Improved patient access to the right care in the right place;
  • Improved delivery and coordination of services in the community for older adults and other patients with unmet needs; and
  • System partnerships, collaborations and resource sharing among service providers.
A report on next week's County council agenda deals with the impacts of the "growing and aging population on paramedic services," whereby 16 per cent of the region's population is 65 or older, and generate 48 per cent of all patient transfers. And within that demographic, in 2013, there were 248 patients who generated 1,848 trips to the hospital - 70 of those to Stevenson Memorial in Alliston.

"All of these patients were transported a minimum of five (5) times with the highest number of transports for one patient at 50," according to Andrew Robert, Director and Chief, Paramedic Services, in his report to council. "Given the rate of recidivism for these patients, local statistics indicate there is significant opportunity to intervene earlier in the plan of care to prevent more acute episodes of illness and these repeated trips to hospital."

Paramedic Services

New Tecumseth's senior population - 65+ - was 5,170 or 18 per cent, according to the 2011 Census. That was four per cent higher than the national average. New Tecumseth is home to several adult lifestyle communities including Green Briar/Briar Hill, Tecumseth Pines, and Kingsmere. A new paramedic station is slated for construction starting this spring on Industrial Parkway, a location selected for its proximity to those communities.

The provincial government has allocated $6 million in funding for a community paramedicine program.

"Given the timelines associated with this announcement, staff are currently in discussions with representatives from the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, North Simcoe Muskoka Health Link teams and Community Care Access Centre to explore opportunities for the development of collaborative model that will promote health and assist individuals to live independently, while helping to reduce emergency transfers, unnecessary emergency room visits and hospital admissions."

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