October 4, 2018

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Program aims to direct patients away from 911 and towards more appropriate health service options

The Region of Waterloo Paramedic Services in partnership with the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network (WWLHIN) is excited to announce a community paramedicine program launched in the Region October 1, 2018.

Funding was provided through the WWLHIN and approved by Regional Council in July of 2018 (PHE‑PSV18‑03) to assess the effectiveness of a community paramedicine program within the Region of Waterloo.  The program is a non-emergency service aimed to reduce unnecessary emergency department (ED) visits, hospital admissions, and address insufficiencies in timely access to care for high risk, high user and vulnerable populations.

“The community paramedicine program is about bringing care to people where they are at. Rather than patients trying to find the care they need, and continuously visiting our emergency departments, we can better support them in the community. This is a great partnership between our organizations to make sure vulnerable residents get the care they need, while better utilizing our finite collective resources.” Says Bruce Lauckner, CEO WWLHIN

The first phase of the program will target high users of paramedic services and the emergency departments. Paramedic Services data indicates that 7% of all patients using our service generated 23% of the total calls for the year and were more likely to present with less or non-urgent problems.  

Karen Totzke, Supervisor of the Community Paramedicine pilot is optimistic about the benefits of the program within our local healthcare system. “Patients will receive scheduled check-ups, health assessments and in-home safety assessments conducted by specially-trained paramedics.  Once an individual’s needs are determined, the community paramedic will connect them to appropriate services in the community to prevent unnecessary 911 calls and emergency department visits. The program will also allow people living with chronic illness or ongoing health needs to be supported in their homes or in the community.”

Subsequent phases of the program may include a specialized geriatric services clinical outreach team, shelter referrals, supportive housing referrals, partnerships with other transitional healthcare teams, and remote patient monitoring.

For additional information regard the program please email communityparamedine@regionofwaterloo.ca

Media Contacts

Nic Smith, Community Program Liaison, Region of Waterloo Paramedic Services

519-575-4400 extension 8711    

Connie MacDonald, Executive Lead, Patient Experience, Communications & Community Engagement, Waterloo Wellington LHIN

519-748-2222 extension 3235