Four-year funding announced for Lambton paramedicine program

(Photo by Lambton EMS)

The County of Lambton is getting just over $2.8-million in provincial funding to continue the “Community Paramedicine” program.

It provides 24/7 access to medical services for eligible seniors, with the goal of allowing them to stay at home while on the province’s long-term care wait list.

Lambton EMS Manager Steve Pancino said the program, introduced in 2017, has taken some strain off the 9-1-1 service.

“For the patients that are enrolled in the program we have seen, and continue to see, a significant decrease in 9-1-1 usage,” said Pancino. “That usage then translates into if an ambulance isn’t being called or sent to one of these patients, then it’s available for other 9-1-1 emergencies around the community.”

Pancino said the money allows for the doubling of the current complement of trained community paramedics to 14, serving an additional 200 seniors.

“If they are approved for a long-term care home spot, that really indicates that they do have additional needs beyond what they’re able to provide themselves,” he said. “So, this is a nice bridge for that and we’ve certainly demonstrated that the care the community paramedics are able to provide in the home meets this need and fills this cap in the delivery of health services.”

He said the program wouldn’t work without collaboration from community partners including Bluewater Health, primary care providers, the Erie St. Clair LHIN and Ontario Health West.

The funding is being distributed over a four-year period, ending in 2024.