The Kawartha Lakes Paramedic Service is moving forward with plans to develop a new community paramedic program to support those awaiting long-term care.
The initiative is tied to an agreement announced in late October by the province to provide $82.5 million over three years to expand the Community Paramedicine program for long-term care to 22 additional communities, including Kawartha Lakes. . This program is fully funded by the provincial government and operates in 33 communities across Ontario, including Haliburton County.
Kawartha Lakes has a significantly larger proportion of the population in the 65+ and 85+ age brackets compared to the provincial average. This segment of the population is expected to continue to grow, creating capacity challenges related to long-term care now and in the future.
Based on waiting lists for care, the municipality is eligible for $5 million in funding by 2024. The funding would cover 100% of new ambulances, staff, equipment and supplies needed to serve customers at home.
“By providing services such as home visits, assessments and remote monitoring, this program will provide comfort, safety and peace of mind to seniors and their families while waiting to access the long-term care system. commented Chief Paramedic Randy Mellow. “By keeping our seniors safe at home while waiting or potentially delaying admission to long-term care, the program will also avoid 911 responses, hospital visits and admission, while protecting our clients. against other community-acquired infections.
Early feedback from participating communities indicates reduced hospital admission rates and increased integration with primary care.
Pending provincial approval and funding, the existing community paramedicine program will be expanded to include long-term care support to keep people stable in their own homes for as long as possible, focusing exclusively on seniors in three eligibility categories; those who are on the long-term care waiting list, those who have been assessed as eligible for long-term care by a Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) Care Coordinator, but who are not yet on the waiting list, and those who will soon be eligible for long-term care. – long-term care.
The program will also work alongside primary care and home and community care to provide services such as 24/7 access to health services through in-home and remote methods, such as as online supports, non-emergency home visits and home testing procedures. , and ongoing monitoring of vital signs to prevent worsening of chronic medical conditions.