Ontario Expanding Community Paramedicine ProgramPublished on March 30, 2021
Fonthill - The Ontario government is investing $8,203,800 million to expand the Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care program in Niagara. This initiative will help more seniors on long-term care waitlists stay safe while living in the comfort of their own homes for longer.
Details of the new program were provided today at the Pelham Ambulance Station in Fonthill by Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West, along with Jim Bradley, Chair of the Niagara Region, and Kevin Smith, Chief of Niagara Emergency Medical Services. MPP Oosterhoff, Chair Bradley and Kevin Smith were also joined by Marvin Junkin, Mayor of the Town of Pelham.
"The expansion of community paramedicine programming in Niagara is good news for our seniors, and the vulnerable in our region," said MPP Oosterhoff.
"This substantial provincial investment will help provide care to many in the community, and ensure seniors are able to be supported and age in place where possible. I am grateful for the daily leadership of Niagara's EMS as they provide excellent care and responses to the people of the peninsula."
The long-term care focused Community Paramedicine program leverages the skills of community paramedic providers to help end hallway health care and provide additional care for seniors. The first phase of this program was announced in October 2020, in partnership with five communities. This expansion will help keep seniors safe, while delaying the need for long-term care by providing enhanced at-home supports.
“On behalf of Regional Council, we are pleased to see this important program become a reality thanks to the critical investment of our partners at the provincial government, said Chair Bradley.
"The enhancements being made to our EMS program through this announcement will make a meaningful difference to the health of our residents by providing them with the most appropriate and effective service possible."
"Over the past two years, Niagara EMS has undergone a significant transformation in how we provide services from a reactive 911 response system to a Mobile Integrated Health model of care," said Kevin Smith.
"This model of care embraces a multidisciplinary approach to providing optimal health services for Niagara with the right care, at the right time, in the right place and by the right provider. The Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care program builds on this foundation to best meet the needs of our community in a proactive model of care. Our paramedics, nurses and other health professionals will integrate and coordinate resources to assist those aging at home to help prevent health deterioration and promote the ability for them to remain safe and supported where they live."
The program is meant to provide services to seniors who are waiting for placement in a long-term care home or who are soon to be eligible for long-term care. The objective of the expanded initiative is to provide collaborative care for local seniors through preventive and response measures in their own homes for as long as possible, serving 50 to 70 new patients in Niagara per month.
"The community paramedicine program provides our seniors, their families and caregivers peace of mind while waiting for a long-term care space," said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care.
"Expanding the program across the province means that more of our loved ones can access services from their own homes, potentially even delaying the need for long-term care, while still providing the quality care and service they need and deserve."
The program will be delivered through local communities, providing:
- Access to health services 24-7, through in-home and remote methods, such as online or virtual supports;
- Non-emergency home visits and in-home testing procedures;
- Ongoing monitoring of changing or escalating conditions to prevent or reduce emergency incidents;
- Additional education about healthy living and managing chronic diseases; and
- Connections for participants and their families to home care and community supports.
The Community Paramedicine program is yet another way Ontario is collaborating with our health system partners to provide innovative services and end hallway health care, build a 21st century long-term care system, and respond to the impact COVID-19 has had on seniors and their families.