SUDBURY -- Eligible palliative care patients in northeast Ontario will soon have the option to get the treatment they need at home, if they so choose.

Progressive Conservative MPPs Norm Miller and Vic Fedeli made the announcement in a Thursday afternoon news conference over Zoom with the region's paramedic chiefs.

"This pilot project will be one of nine projects across the province that will serve more than 30 regions," said Miller. "In our area, this pilot project will serve eligible palliative care patients by implementing the treat and refer model of palliative care."

Currently, paramedics have to bring 911 patients to hospital emergency departments before they're provided treatment elsewhere.

Receive care at home

In the new model, eligible palliative care patients who call 911 can be treated by paramedics who are trained in symptom management. Those paramedics will then coordinate with the patient's primary palliative care team or with a local hospice where the patient is registered for further wrap-around care.

The pilot project will be in place for a year and then the province will look at making adjustments where required.

"Today's announcement is yet another step as part of our government's commitment to improve patient care in our community, support our hospital capacity and end hallway healthcare," said Fedeli.

The hope is by treating vulnerable patients where they're most comfortable, it will help maximize capacity at hospitals.

The treatment model is being referred to as "treat and refer" and paramedics can administer medication for pain, hallucinations, terminate congested breathing, nausea or vomiting amid other symptoms.

According to the government's news release, it'll only also be available in select regions.

There will also be standardized training provided to paramedics through Sudbury's Health Sciences North.