Providing Care at home and in community for people with chronic conditions
Oakridges-Markham MPP Dr. Helena Jaczek recently announced that Ontario is continuing to improve access to care for seniors and patients with chronic conditions in York Region through the Expanding Paramedicine in the Community (EPIC) Program.
The York Region EPIC program will receive $220,600 to continue their home visit pilot project. EPIC links York Region Paramedic Services with several Family Health Teams (FHT) to perform scheduled and unscheduled home visits for FHT patients identified by the physicians to be at risk.
“Starting in 2013, York Region’s EPIC program was the first of its kind in Ontario. This program allows specialty trained Paramedics, working with Family Health Teams and the patients family physician, to bring care to ‘at risk’ patients with chronic complex medical conditions in their own home. It provides the right care at the right time in the right place,” explains York Region Paramedic Services Deputy Chief Iain Park
Dr. Helena Jaczek, as a physician, likely understands the benefits of this program more than most. “The York Region Expanding Paramedicine in the Community (EPIC) program is a smart way to leverage the skills and training of paramedics to help serve not just those in acute crisis, but those who have chronic conditions in our community. As a physician, I know that this kind of care can help to reduce emergency room visits and hospital admissions,” said Jaczek.
The province is investing a total of $4 million to continue 23 Community Paramedicine pilot programs across the province for an additional year. These initiatives support partnerships between participating paramedics and teams of health care professionals to provide more care to patients in the community, including:
- Making home visits to seniors and high-needs patients to help them with a range of services such as ensuring they are taking medication as prescribed.
- Increasing assessment and referrals to local services in the community such as the Community Care Access Centres for follow up care.
- Educating patients on managing their chronic disease.
These Community Paramedicine programs can help seniors and other patients live independently at home longer and reduce emergency room visits and hospital admissions.
Investing in care at home and in the community is part of the government’s plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, which provides patients with faster access to the right care; better home and community care; the information they need to live healthy; and a health care system that is sustainable for generations to come.
Photo: L-R Mayor Frank Scarpitti, MPPs Dr. Helena Jaczek and Chris Ballard,; Dr. Alan Monavvari, MSH Chief of Family Medicine and York Region Paramedic Services Deputy Chief Iain Park pose for a quick photo at the June 3 funding announcement at York Region Paramedic Response Station 23 in Markham.