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

 

Just Posted

B.C. Interior free from measles

Vancouver measles outbreak hasn’t spread to the B.C. Interior

Man injured in police shooting near Nelson has died

The death follows an incident in Bonnington on Feb. 13

Lemon Creek fuel truck driver gets $20,000 fine

Danny LaSante was sentenced in Nelson court today

LVR presents tense jury room drama

12 Angry Jurors runs Feb. 28 to March 3 in a unique venue, directed by Robyn Sheppard

Students give two thumbs up to no more B.C. student loan interest

Eliminating the loan interest charges could save the average graduate $2,300 over 10 years

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

B.C. business groups worry about looming economic decline in wake of NDP budget

The party’s second government budget focused on plenty of spending, business advocates say

Missing Surrey snowshoer caught in avalanche found dead on Vancouver mountain

North Shore Rescue resumed its search today after efforts were temporarily halted Tuesday due to snowstorm

Most Read