P.E.I. paramedics will do more home care under new programs
Province developing 3 new programs with $750K from federal government
P.E.I. is developing three new home-care initiatives to allow seniors to remain in their homes as long as possible, with help from $750,000 in new federal funding.
The programs are aimed at getting patients back into their homes from the hospital, decreasing readmissions and better access to home care.
"It's about providing more access to home care for clients and individuals who want to be at home which is mostly the environment where they seem to recover better," Health and Wellness Minister Robert Mitchell said Tuesday.
Health PEI plans to hire three more home care nurses and a new nurse practitioner for the new programs, which will be developed in the coming months, Mitchell said.
The Provincial Home Care Program already helps thousands of Islanders, he said, but spikes in demand can be unpredictable and the program doesn't take new patients on evenings or weekends.
Advanced care paramedics from Island EMS will be able to bridge the gap between hospital and home, the province said, supporting patients after they're discharged from hospital until home care kicks in. They'll do things like change dressings and administer medications.
Paramedics happy to participate
Paramedics will also provide a check-in service for seniors instead of having them travel to emergency rooms.
Paramedics already provide Islanders with palliative care at home on evening and weekends — the new program will expand that coverage to any time home care staff can't quickly respond, the province said.
Island EMS said it is eager to participate in the new programs, and it does not plan to hire any additional paramedics.
Mitchell said paramedics sometimes have down time between emergency calls.
"This is another service that paramedics can use their scope of training in a better, effective way to help Islanders remain in their homes, is where they want to be and their families want them to be," he said.
The federal government has more than $11 billion targeted to improve home care and mental health services over the next decade under bilateral agreements with the provinces.
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With files from Brian Higgins