Paramedics could help ease hospital overcrowding at no extra cost

New Brunswick paramedics say they could be part of the solution to hospital overcrowding in the province at no extra cost.

Provincial association suggests regular home checks of seniors in rural areas to catch problems early

Paramedics say they help avoid hospital overcrowding by providing a drop-in service to seniors in rural areas to check on their health and catch problems before they need to be taken to a hospital. (CBC)

New Brunswick paramedics say they could be part of the solution to hospital overcrowding in the province at no extra cost.

Chris Hood, executive director of the Paramedic Association of New Brunswick, says many of the people who end up in the hospital could avoid going if small changes in their health were noticed sooner.

Hood says paramedics in rural areas have the skills to assess those changes and the time on their hands to provide the service.

The cost-neutral proposal would see paramedics check in on so-called frequent flyers, such as seniors, at their homes three to four times a week to try to catch problems early and head off trips to the hospital.

Hood says other jurisdictions across Canada and in other countries that have tried it have found improved health outcomes and savings to the health-care system.

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