Paramedic union president Bronwyn Barter

Paramedics make house calls in rural program

80 full-time and half-time positions to keep paramedics in small B.C. towns, and patients out of emergency

The B.C. government is expanding its community paramedic program from six to 73 communities, to stabilize their employment in rural areas by extending their hours and their duties.

Those duties will include visits to nursing homes and private homes, replacing on-call rural paramedic positions with full-time or half-time jobs in places that may see only one or two emergency calls in a week.

Health Minister Terry Lake said Wednesday there are already jobs posted for communities in the Northern Health region, after a successful pilot project in six communities. Recruiting will begin in the Interior Health region in early 2017 and in the Vancouver Island and Vancouver Coastal regions by spring 2017.

“While you’re not on call-outs, you can go into a nursing home and talk with patients,” Lake said of the new paramedic roles. “You may be doing CPR training, you may be doing chronic disease management in people’s homes.”

Experience in other provinces has shown that community paramedics can reduce emergency room visits and keep chronic patients in their homes longer, Lake said.

Bronwyn Barter, president of CUPE local 873 representing 3,900 ambulance paramedics, said the union and local politicians have been advocating for the approach since 2013. It allows paramedics to make a living in smaller communities.

Rhiannon Davis works as a paramedic in Tofino, one of the six pilot communities. She said the new role allows her to develop relationships with people in the area and understand their needs, preventing rather than waiting for emergencies.

Pilot programs are underway in Tofino, Ucluelet, Port Hardy and Cortes Island in the Island Health region, Fort St. James, Hazelton and Chetwynd in Northern Health and Creston and Princeton in the Interior Health region.

Communities to receive the service over the next year:

• Island Health region: Alert Bay, Cortes Island, Denman Island (including Hornby Island), Gabriola Island, Galiano Island, Gold River, Mayne Island, Pender Island, Port Alice, Port Hardy, Port Renfrew, Port McNeil, Quadra Island, Sayward, Sointula, Tahsis, Tofino, Ucluelet, Zeballos

• Northern Health region: Atlin, Chetwynd, Dease Lake, Fraser Lake, Fort St. James, Granisle, Haida Gwaii, Hazelton, Houston, Hudson Hope, MacKenzie, McBride, Kitwanga, Southside, Stewart, Tumbler Ridge, Valemount, Wells

• Interior Health region: Alexis Creek, Anahim Lake, Blue River, Clearwater, Clinton, Creston, Edgewood, Elkford, Field, Fruitvale, Gold Bridge, Golden, Greenwood, Kaslo. Keremeos. Lillooet, Logan Lake, Lumby, Lytton, Midway, Nakusp, New Denver, Princeton, Revelstoke, Riondel, Rossland, Salmo, Seton Portage, Sicamous, Sparwood, Winlaw

• Vancouver Coastal region: Bella Bella, Bella Coola, Bowen Island, Madiera Park, Texada Island

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

District looking for public input on cycling plan

Survey is open to the public until May 25

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Flooding highly unlikely this year throughout Skeena watershed

Region’s snowpack among lowest in the province

Cameras and convoys: Graduation in the age of COVID-19

Schools in Terrace and Kitimat are thinking outside the box to give students a graduation ceremony

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Most Read