The provincial government is renewing its support for its successful community paramedicine program in York Region.

The program offers non-emergency care from a paramedic to those with chronic health issues, including seniors and other community members.

Last year, this program helped 119 people in York Region receive care from a paramedic, who went above and beyond their usual emergency response role.

Among the services included: Check-in calls to frequent users of 911, referring the person to appropriate health care services, home visits for seniors, routine health services (eg: blood pressure checks and blood glucose checks).

The community paramedicine program helps people access care closer to home, where we know they want to be. Data shows that the program has helped to reduce 911 calls, hospital admissions and ambulance transports.

53-year-old, Stephen Knight has a medical history of Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Prior to his enrollment in the Expanding Paramedicine in the Community (EPIC) program, Knight had complained of chest pain over two years, symptoms associated with a previous heart attack.

During the second visit with a community paramedic from EPIC, it was determined that his symptoms were indicative of a heart condition. The paramedic performed a 12-Lead echocardiogram (ECG), provided Knight with health education and encouraged him to record his symptoms, including pain onset, duration and level of pain.

The test results and assessment findings, combined with the suspicion of ischemic chest pains, were documented in Knight’s Electronic Medical Record and shared with his family physician. His family physician ordered additional tests. Shortly thereafter, he completed a coronary angiography and had open-heart surgery within three months.

Since the surgery, he has made a complete recovery and is no longer experiencing chest pain. He continues to receive support from the EPIC program and is grateful to the paramedics for their proactive approach to care which prevented a more serious health episode.

“The community paramedicine program is a great way to leverage the skills and training of paramedics here in York Region to help serve not just those in acute crisis, but those who have chronic conditions in our community,” noted Oak Ridges-Markham MPP Dr. Helena Jaczek.

Ontario is increasing access to care, reducing wait times and improving the patient experience through its Patient’s First Action Plan for Health Care and OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare – protecting health care today and into the future.

“The evolving role of paramedics in health care delivery in York Region is connecting more residents to the right assistance at the right time. Paramedicine is helping people, alleviating pressures on our local hospitals and extending the reach of local health care options. I commend the Government of Ontario for their continued support to bring this important program to residents in York Region,” said Wayne Emmerson, Chairman and CEO, The Regional Municipality of York.

Photo: (L-R) Norm Barrette, Chief and General Manager of Paramedic and Senior Services, York Region; Dr. Alan Monavvari, Chief of Family Medicine, Markham-Stouffville Hospital; Katherine Chislett, Commissioner, Community and Health Services, York Region; Dr. Helena Jaczek, MPP Oak Ridges-Markham
and Stephen Knight, a patient of the program.