Campbell River paramedics to get a much needed boost

BCEHS will train one Rural Advanced Care Community Paramedic to increase the level of service here

Campbell River is about to get another skilled front-line medical professional.

According to BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS), Campbell River has been selected as one of five coastal communities to receive additions to their paramedicine resources during the final phase of a province-wide rollout, which began in April, 2016. The others are Chemainus, Ganges, Lake Cowichan and Sooke. This announcement comes just weeks after the announcement of an additional 30 paramedics being hired for for the Nanaimo/Ladysmith/Parksville area.

Campbell River will receive one full-time Rural Advanced Care Community Paramedic (RACCP) under the program, bringing the community’s full-time paramedicine staff to 10. There are also 32 part-time paramedics attached to the local station, along with an additional six full-time paramedics from neighbouring stations who submit for shifts here.

According to Shannon Miller of the BCEHS, Campbell River averages approximately 400 Medical Priority Dispach System calls per month.

The announcement by BCEHS says the addition of these RACCPs “allows for expanded community paramedicine services such as assessing and treating higher acuity patients and supporting local physicians and nurse practitioners in residential care, clinic and other facilities. RAACPs may also support local clinicians in emergency patient transfers, provide clinical mentorship to CPs in surrounding communities, respond to high acuity calls in rural and remote communities and provide treat and release services.”

City council received the notice from the BCEHS at their last public meeting.

“I was very pleased to read this,” Coun. Charlie Cornfield said. “When I was at the LGLA (Local Government Leadership Academy) last week, I had a chance to talk to both the mayor and a councilor from Fruitvale, and that councilor is a paramedic with that same training. The mayor said it has made a huge difference within that community.”

The Community Paramedicine Program offers residents in rural communities enhanced health care services by broadening the traditional focus of paramedics to include more preventative measures.

“It’s a community-based model meant for non-urgent settings, in patients’ homes or in the community, in partnership with local health care providers,” Miller says. “Community paramedics help improve access to health care in rural and remote communities by providing services to primarily older adults living with chronic conditions. These services, identified by referring health professionals, are intended to help patients live safely in their homes and avoid extra trips to the hospital.”

Advanced care paramedics also specialize in advanced care of medical and trauma patients with a focus on advanced cardiac resuscitation. Until now, advanced care paramedics were only stationed in major cities such as Vancouver, Victoria, Kamloops and Kelowna.

The city will send a letter to BCEHS thanking them for the additional paramedic, who BCEHS says should have their orientation program finished and begin providing services within patients’ homes by this summer.

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