Region's program to help seniors stay at home longer receives $7.8M funding boost from province

A program run by the region’s paramedic services sees community paramedics provide non-emergency medical care to seniors and people with chronic illness in their homes. The region says this will help people who are waiting to get into long-term care.

Program also 'helps to reduce caregiver burnout and assist everyone involved,' paramedic chief says

Young person holding the hand of an older person, who is holding a cane.
A regional program that sees community paramedics go into the homes of seniors and people with chronic illnesses to help them with non-emergency medical care received nearly $7.8 million from the province on Friday. (Shutterstock / Lighthunter)

A paramedicine program that aims to keep seniors safely in their homes longer has received nearly $7.8 million over the next three years from the province.

As part of the program, which is run by the region's paramedic services, community paramedics provide non-emergency medical care to seniors and people with chronic illness in their homes. That includes check-ups, health assessments, and in-home safety assessments.

The region says the program will also provide:

  • Access to health services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, through in-home and remote methods, such as online or virtual supports.
  • Home visits and in-home testing.
  • Ongoing monitoring of conditions to prevent or reduce emergency incidents.
  • Education about healthy living or managing things like chronic diseases.
  • Connections for participants and their families to home care and community supports.

Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Mike Harris announced the funding on Friday morning, saying the move is one way the province is working to modernize seniors care and manage the growing demand for long term care.

"It is critical that we do our part to help people safely remain in their homes for as long as possible, if that's what they prefer to do. However, without the support they need, some seniors are at risk of ending up in the hospital or in a crisis," he said.

Current program expanded

Regional Chair Karen Redman said the region is "grateful for the opportunity to expand the program and provide more opportunities for seniors to receive support as they age in place at home and for many, while they wait for space and long term care facilities." 

Chief of Region of Waterloo Paramedic Services Stephen VanValkenburg said programs like the community paramedics have shown a decrease in 911 calls in other communities.

Currently, the program runs five days a week. He said he was pleased to be able to expand the program to round-the-clock all week and also that they can serve more people.

"The program also supports the loved ones of seniors living at home, knowing that additional in-home and remote health care support is available, helps to reduce caregiver burnout and assist everyone involved in the transition to long-term care," he said.