Two more long-term care homes will be involved with Saskatoon Health Region’s community paramedicine pilot project in Saskatoon.

Last week, the Community Strategies team involved in 90 Days of Innovation: Ready Every Day announced that the pilot would be expanded from Luther Special Care Home and Porteous Lodge to two additional locations: Central Haven and Sherbrooke.

The Community Paramedicine pilot project in Saskatoon, conducted in partnership with MD Ambulance, is expanding to two more facilities.

The Community Paramedicine pilot project in Saskatoon, conducted in partnership with MD Ambulance, is expanding to two more facilities.

This means that paramedics will be available to support the wellness teams at all four long-term care homes.

The community paramedicine pilot was announced as part of the Better Every Day 14 Day Challenge in February, and was officially launched on April 13 as a paramedic from MD Ambulance with enhanced geriatric assessment skills provided services at the two long-term care homes.

“It’s clear that this program is working,” said Corey Miller, Vice President of Saskatoon Health Region and team lead for the Community Strategies team. “This program has already provided care to numerous individuals in long-term care, allowing them to remain in their own beds and receive the treatment they need, and avoiding the stresses of an emergency room visit. That is the reason why we decided to expand the pilot.”

The project can be expanded without adding more resources from MD Ambulance or from the Region.

“It just made sense, from every perspective, to expand the pilot,” Miller noted. “Paramedicine is safe and can result in better care with less hassle and stress for residents.”

Although each long-term care home in Saskatoon employs highly skilled healthcare professionals, such as registered nurses, circumstances may not always allow for them to provide onsite treatment for residents. This sometimes results in an ambulance trip to the Emergency Department for the required treatment. The role of this new team member is to assess and treat non-emergency health concerns at a residents’ bedside. For instance, they can provide intravenous treatments for low blood sugar.

“It offers a choice to the resident and their family to have treatment provided in the home when appropriate and safe,” said Rod MacKenzie, Director of Rural Integration, Emergency Medical Services and Acute Care Access Line for Saskatoon Health Region. “If the physician, RN and paramedic agree, the residents can choose to have some assessments and even possible treatments done in their own bed, rather than having to be transported to the emergency room.”

The goal of this six-month pilot is to reduce the need for ambulance transport from the pilot sites to emergency departments by 25 per cent.

The Community Strategies team is focusing their efforts on preventing the need for emergency and acute care by providing more services in the community such as enhanced home-based and community-based supports, as well as enhancing supports for long-term care homes and personal care homes.

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