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Community paramedicine program reduces 911 calls, visits to emergency dept.

A report to Sudbury’s community services committee says the Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care (CPLTC) program has reduced emergency department visits in the province by 24 per cent and a 19 per cent drop in hospital enrollment. (Supplied) A report to Sudbury’s community services committee says the Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care (CPLTC) program has reduced emergency department visits in the province by 24 per cent and a 19 per cent drop in hospital enrollment. (Supplied)
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A program that has paramedics visit patients in the patient’s home is helping to ease the pressure on hospital’s emergency department.

A report to Sudbury’s community services committee says the Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care (CPLTC) program has reduced emergency department visits in the province by patients enrolled in the program by 24 per cent and a 19 per cent drop in hospital enrollment.

“Provincially, 911 calls reduced by 22-32 per cent,” the report said.

“Locally, of the 975 urgent/same day (paramedic) visits this past year, 700 were able to remain home, avoiding 911 and emergency department (visits).”

The paramedicine program has been growing locally since it was first introduced in 2014 as a pilot project. Funding was increased dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic and 16 new staff were hired.

The idea behind the program is to have paramedics visit people with chronic illness in their homes. The visits allow paramedics to head off emergencies and hospital visits, and allows people to stay in their homes longer, rather than being forced into a hospital bed.

In 2024, paramedics make 1,200 home visits a month in Sudbury and have received provincial approval to convert 13 staff to permanent from full-time equivalents.

“Provincially, over 90 per cent of patients/families reported CPLTC helped maintain/improve the patient’s health and well-being and feeling of safety in their home,” the report said.

“Sixty-four per cent were able to delay or avoid application for LTCH beds.”

The program saves the system a significant amount of money. The cost of a hospital bed is $1,274 a day, an ALC bed in hospital costs at least $1,100 and a basic long-term care bed costs $65.

The paramedicine program, in contrast, costs an average of $8.40 a day to run per client.

Read the full report here.

Correction

This story has been updated to correct the fact the program costs $8.40 a day per client to run, not $8. And ED visits dropped by 24 per cent for clients in the community paramedicine program.

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