Panel presents study on Community Paramedicine

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A growing aging population is indicative of a successful society with technological and medical advancements helping people to live almost a decade longer on average than 50 years ago. It also means a growing number of older Americans are experiencing long-term disability, reflected in COA providing care management to about 20,000 individuals annually.

Jeanne Wallman COA Programs Manager

 Manager, Programs Department

Jeanne Wallman

There is a growing trend in the U.S., Canada and other countries, of emergency management personnel, such as paramedics, serving the growing aging population and helping them to remain safe and independent in their homes through Community Paramedicine programs. While there are many different models, the focus remains on helping people who are at high-risk for medical emergencies and hospitalizations. High risk situations include chronic disease, multiple medications, mental health issues, disabilities, unstable home environments and lack of family support.

Community Paramedicine is a supplement to the traditional emergency medical services (EMS) response model and bridges both community health service and EMS coverage gaps through services such as wellness, health and safety checks. Collaboration on these efforts between paramedical professionals and social services is a common-sense solution to help those at risk stay in their homes and is a lower-cost alternative to overuse of the 911 system.

Efforts are underway to revise the Ohio Revised Code to allow fire department paramedics to make non-emergency home visits.

COA Programs Department Manager Jeanne Wallman joined representatives from the University of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati, Colerain Township and Springfield Township fire departments October 11, to explain a collaboration exploring local Community Paramedicine opportunities.

The panel participated in the “Community Paramedicine Seminar” hosted by the University of Cincinnati’s College of Engineering and Applied Science (UC CEAS) Fire Science & Emergency Management Program. The organizations have been working together on a study to identify the ways in which paramedics can collaborate with COA to enhance home and community based services.

Recommendations taken from the study include:

  • Developing Inter-Professional Training specific to Community Paramedicine for both COA and Paramedics
  • COA contracting with local Fire/EMS Departments
  • COA identifying clients appropriate for Paramedic Visits
  • COA coordinating information sharing between Care Managers and Paramedics

“COA is poised and ready with the needed infrastructure to move forward with Community Paramedicine if and when laws are changed, and funding is available,” Wallman said. “With the growing population of older adults, the need for Community Paramedicine will continue to increase. “