Fort St. James, Fraser Lake, Houston and Granilse are four of 73 rural and remote B.C. communities that will welcome the Community Paramedicine Initiative, a program that offers residents enhanced health services from paramedics. Fort St. James, Fraser Lake and Houston will each get one full-time equivalent and Granisle will get one half-time equivalent.
The program is part of the B.C. government’s plan to enhance primary care service delivery to British Columbians. Under this program, paramedics will provide basic health-care services, within their scope of practice, in partnership with local health-care providers, delivered in non-urgent settings, in patients’ homes or in the community.
“Health care improvements are a priority for our government,” Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad said. “This program will bring non-urgent health care services to residents in Fraser Lake, Fort St. James, Granisle and Houston and in doing so, will boost health care supports.”
The services provided may include checking blood pressure, assisting with diabetic care, helping to identify fall hazards, medication assessment, post-injury or illness evaluation, and assisting with respiratory conditions. The paramedics will perform assessments requested by the referring health-care professional, and record their findings for the patient’s file. The enhanced role will not replace care provided by health professionals such as nurses, but will complement and support their work.
Initially introduced in the province in 2015 in nine prototype communities, including Fort St. James, the Community Paramedicine Initiative is now expanding provincewide, including 18 communities in northern B.C.
Community paramedics are expected to be delivering community health services in northern B.C., including Fort St. James, Fraser Lake, Houston and Granisle, this fall.
BC Emergency Health Services has been co-ordinating the implementation of community paramedicine with the Ministry of Health, regional health authorities, the Ambulance Paramedics of BC (CUPE 873), the First Nations Health Authority and others.