For millions of people across the country, health care needs outnumber health care options. The community paramedic closes the gap by expanding the role of the traditional EMS provider.
With formalized training and education, experienced paramedics may expand their role as an acute care provider to that of a transitional care provider. Community paramedics focus on improving the patient care experience and improving overall health of populations. In turn, per capita-healthcare costs reduce.
Cape Fear Valley Health’s goal is to improve patient care by providing community paramedics to serve as an advocate for the patient at all times. Patients often need assistance scheduling appointments, managing their medications, navigating multiple health systems, and establishing an easy-to-understand plan for their ongoing care.
Some examples of services offered by the community paramedic that have shown improvement in overall health and reduction in readmission rates include:
The Community Paramedic Program launched in January 2015 with a focus on working with pneumonia patients. It has since begun working with COPD and CHF patients, as well. Today, the program provides more than 7000 home visits a year, utilizing seven full-time and one per-diem community paramedic.
Cape Fear Valley’s mission is to provide exceptional healthcare to improve quality of life and health outcomes for high risk patients. Our vision is to improve patient quality of life through education, resource navigation, medication management, and home visits.
We are currently working with Cape Fear Valley Health on a Congestive Heart Failure initiative. The program works closely with patients who have high risk heart failure by providing telephone calls, home visits, and acute home treatment to these patients.
Community paramedics also work with the heart failure physicians to monitor labs and provide in home assessments to prevent readmissions. The hospital has added an eight-bed outpatient diuresis unit, where we can transport patients who do not respond well to home treatments. These patients are typically treated and sent home within 24 hours.