The city of Winnipeg has announced plans for the creation of a program which will soon have community paramedics treating patients in non-emergency cases.
The newly-created Community Paramedic Program is based on the Main Street Project community paramedic program, which has demonstrated the effectiveness and benefits of having paramedics function in a primary care capacity. The Main Street Project has been successful in providing early assessment and response to actual or potential health problems or health promotion needs, planning appropriate interventions with a client-centred focus, and demonstrating a more cost effective way to deliver health care.
The Community Paramedic Program is a collaboration between the city and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA), and is designed to relieve some of the pressure on the city’s busy ambulances and emergency departments, reducing the number of less urgent cases at hospital emergency rooms.
“Over half of all emergency department visits are for non-urgent issues and could be better dealt with in a primary care setting,” said St. James-Brooklands Councillor Scott Fielding, the chair of the standing policy committee on protection and community services. “Community paramedicine is an innovative approach that will meet the needs of individuals seeking health care, while leaving emergency ambulances available to respond to critically ill patients in the community.”
Patients with medical needs that don’t necessitate transport to the emergency department will receive a complete medical assessment by the community paramedic in the field. Once the medical assessment is complete, the community paramedic will assist in making arrangements to connect the patient with an appropriate community health resource such as the Urgent Care Centre or Community Health Access Centre.
“This is another important initiative we’re undertaking in collaboration with Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Services (WFPS) to help us achieve our patient flow targets by working to ensure patients get the right care in the right place at the right time,” said Arlene Wilgosh, president and CEO of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.
“The WFPS continues to work in collaboration with the WRHA in exploring and developing new and efficient patient care initiatives in an effort to further improve the unique paramedic service delivery model that has been developed and fostered by both organizations over the last decade,” said WFPS Chief Reid Douglas.
“This latest undertaking is intended to further build on the efficiencies that already exist within our system, to ensure that patients in the community continue to receive the most appropriate pre-hospital medical response and follow-up medical intervention,” he added.
During the pilot phase of the program, the community paramedic will have online medical control access with the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service medical directors to ensure patients are receiving the best possible care.
— provided by the city of Winnipeg.