Campbellford Hospital Patient Safely Discharged

Northumberland Paramedics Community Paramedicine Program support patients’ safe discharge home from hospital

“One of the biggest challenges to discharging a patient home can be the appropriate support,” said Heather Campbell, VP, Patient Care, Chief Nursing Executive, CMH.

Northumberland County – June 12, 2023 – The Northumberland Paramedics Community Paramedicine Program is increasingly being integrated into local hospital discharge planning, to great effect.

After an infection landed John Jones, 92, in the Campbellford Memorial Hospital (CMH) for inpatient care, his safe discharge home included a referral to the Community Paramedicine Program for regular in-home check-ups, phone calls, and remote monitoring. John shared: “It gave me a great deal of comfort knowing my condition would continue being monitored and addressed.”

Roll-out of an innovative care model

Launched in 2020, the Community Paramedicine Program sees specially trained paramedics deliver non-emergency in-home health care services directly to community members in need. These preventative care services are improving patient and caregiver experience, while also alleviating some of the high demand for services through hospitals, clinics, emergency services and long-term care facilities in Northumberland.

“Thanks to funding from the province, we’ve been able to roll out this innovative care model across Northumberland, connecting paramedics with patients and caregivers in non-urgent settings to help sustain and improve health outcomes. It has been an enormous benefit to our community,” says Northumberland County Warden Mandy Martin.

Northumberland Paramedics Chief Susan Brown elaborates. “Since the launch of this program in 2020, our community paramedics have delivered specialized health care to over 3,200 residents – residents like John, who was able to be discharged from the hospital to the safety and comfort of his own home by accessing these additional supports.

“We appreciate the relationships we’re able to build with patients and caregivers through the Community Paramedicine Program to get them the care they need when they need it. And we’re pleased to be working with partners through the Ontario Health Team of Northumberland, like our community hospitals, as part of the circle of care to build a more connected health care system that is centered on the needs of patients, families and caregivers.”

Funding the Community Paramedicine program

In February 2020, the province announced funding for Community Paramedicine in Northumberland as part of its plan to end hallway health care and support better patient-centered care. This investment enabled Northumberland Paramedics to expand their practice beyond pre-hospital emergency care to also deliver illness prevention and health promotion services.

Then, in February 2022, the Province announced $7.5 million in one-time funding to support a Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care program until March 2024, with a further commitment to extend supports to March 2025 identified in the recent provincial budget. This program – an expansion of the Community Paramedicine Program – launched full-scale operations in October 2022, further supporting seniors who are either on the waitlist for long-term care or have been assessed as eligible or soon to be eligible.

“Thank you to the incredible Northumberland Paramedics team who are providing care, closer to home,” says Northumberland-Peterborough South MPP David Piccini. “The expansion of Community Paramedicine to incorporate safe discharge from hospitals means we can help more seniors across Northumberland get the extra care they need in the safety and comfort of their own homes.”

Collaboration with hospital partners

CMH’s partnership with Northumberland Paramedics and the Community Paramedicine Program has provided patients in the Emergency Department and Inpatient Unit with another option to support safe discharge home. As the program has reached full implementation, CMH clinical teams in the Emergency Department and Inpatient Unit are increasingly referring patients to the program for services ranging from remote monitoring, glucose monitoring, and vital signs monitoring to wellness checks, and bloodwork.

“One of the biggest challenges to discharging a patient home can be the appropriate support,” said Heather Campbell, VP, Patient Care, Chief Nursing Executive, CMH. “With the option to refer patients to the Community Paramedicine Program, patients and their families have additional supports to make the transition home with ease and confidence. This service is patient -centered focused and has been particularly impactful for elderly patients with mobility issues that can make accessing health care difficult, especially in our rural environment.”

Northumberland Hills Hospital (NHH) is seeing patient benefits in the Emergency Department and inpatient units.

“This is an excellent service for our community. In both acute and post-acute wards, our teams discuss Community Paramedicine opportunities at daily rounds, and at patient discharge meetings,” said Kate Zimmerman, Vice President, Integrated Care and Chief Nursing Executive. “Within the Emergency Department, our Geriatric Emergency Medicine Nurse and our Geriatric Activation Team are very aware of the programming. They are able to discharge eligible patients faster and safer with the knowledge that certain services—such as wellness checks—are readily available to the patient post-discharge in the community.

“In addition to the paramedics bringing service to the patient (versus requiring the patient to come to the service) there is the added benefit to the paramedic entering the home. By doing this they can make a more fulsome assessment of the patient’s real needs and, as appropriate, connect them with additional supports or help to increase supports they may already have. This is very unique and brings a context we simply do not have when we see patients within the hospital.”

Benefits are also being seen within NHH’s Community Mental Health program. “The implementation of Community Paramedicine in our region is helping to remove barriers for individuals with mental illness in accessing necessary services such as routine blood draws. Collaboratively, we are working to reduce stigma for individuals seeking mental health resources and our partners in Community Paramedicine are supporting a holistic approach to caring for mental health by establishing relationships with our clients and conducting physical health examinations.”

Preventative care for community members

John Jones’ Community Paramedicine care has evolved since his hospital discharge in August 2022, and the support now extends to his wife, Alison, for blood pressure monitoring. In December 2022, John was feeling unwell, so they contacted the Northumberland Paramedics, who sent a community paramedic to assess John’s health. They suggested he go to the hospital. Upon discharge from the inpatient unit, John was relieved a community paramedic would be doing in-home wellness checks and follow-up bloodwork, given mobility and health challenges he would otherwise face in accessing this care.

“It’s a benefit to have a thorough examination, and they send the report to our family doctor, so they’re in the loop,” said Alison. “The paramedics are very caring.”

To refer yourself – or someone for whom you care – to the Community Paramedicine Program, apply online by visiting Northumberland.ca/CP  or call 1-833-718-1942.

 

 

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