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Funding helps paramedics treat residents at home while they await long-term beds

Hastings and Prince Edward County residents will receive regular care from specially trained paramedics while they await long-term beds thanks to $5,946,200 from the Ontario government.

The funds will be used over the next four years to expand the Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care Program in Hastings and Prince Edward counties. The initiative, delivered by Hastings-Quinte Paramedic Services, will help more seniors on long-term care waitlists stay safe while living in their own homes.

Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte, and Daryl Kramp, MPP for Hastings-Lennox and Addington announced the funding allocation Thursday as part of an annual commitment of up to $54 million by the province’s Ministry of Long-Term Care to expand the program to additional communities across Ontario following a successful launch in five communities last fall.

“As we work to build and modernize long-term care capacity in our communities, this innovative program will ensure residents waiting for a bed receive regular care from specially trained paramedics,” said Smith. “This investment will provide seniors and their families additional peace of mind their care needs are being supported as they transition to long-term care.”

Kramp added the proactive program will also have a positive impact on local health-care services.

“Protecting the health and safety of all Ontarians is our top priority. This funding will help our vulnerable citizens stay at home and out of the hospital. That not only benefits them, but it also serves to eliminate hallway health care and ease pressures on our frontline health-care services,” said Kramp.

The program, which will be funded through 2023-2024, is to provide:
• Access to health services 24-7, through in-home and remote methods, such as online or virtual supports;
• Non-emergency home visits and in-home testing procedures;
• Ongoing monitoring of changing or escalating conditions to prevent or reduce emergency incidents;
• Additional education about healthy living and managing chronic diseases; and
connections for participants and their families to home care and community supports.

Three-quarters of the $5,946,200 investment represents operational funding over the next four years, while the remaining allocation can be used to provide vehicles, equipment, and supplies.

Chief Doug Socha, of Hastings-Quinte Paramedic Services, said families receiving proactive care from paramedics within the community have strongly embraced the concept and expressed gratitude the province is providing new funding to expand the scope of programming to meet local needs.

“Our area has a high number of clients on the long-term care waitlist, and a high number of older adults living at home needing support,” said Socha. “We plan to immediately train additional community paramedics in the expanded clinical care protocols to add to our existing program so we can increase the care in the community.”

Carol Smith Romeril, Vice-President and Chief Nursing Officer at Quinte Health Care, applauded the news.

“This is an excellent initiative that will help keep people home where they are most comfortable, without having an extended hospital stay. This will help ensure individuals receive the right care in the right place, and help preserve hospital resources for those that need them the most,” said Smith Romeril.


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