New paramedic program for Sicamous

Sicamous has been selected to be part of a provincial initiative to provide extended health services from paramedics

Pam Beech

Pam Beech

Sicamous has been selected to be part of a provincial initiative to provide extended health services from paramedics.

The Community Paramedicine program is expected to roll out early 2017 in Sicamous and 30 other communities in the Interior Health region (73 rural/remote communities across the province). Through it, Sicamous will benefit from the service of one full-time equivalent paramedic, providing 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.

A B.C. government news release specifically notes services provided by paramedics involved in the program 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. They can perform assessments requested by the referring health-care professional, and record their findings for the patient’s file.

The province emphasizes the enhanced role of participating paramedics, “will not replace care provided by health professionals such as nurses, but will complement and support their work.”

Sicamous resident, medical clinic manager and Rural Shuswap Health Services Network member/advocate Pam Beech calls the paramedicine initiative a big step in the right direction and is grateful to see her community receive the program.

“It’s pretty awesome that we actually got this…,” said Beech. “It’s just a new way of delivering a service to the communities and sort of filling some of the gaps in service we have within the communities using paramedics.”

Beech believes Sicamous is receiving the program because the community has its own, “high-functioning” ambulance bay.

“We’re very fortunate that way,” said Beech. “And we have a physician still in our community.”

Beech suggests the Rural Shuswap Health Services Network’s influence might also be a factor. The group represents a collaborative of communities each going through their own issues regarding access to health care.

“We’re all working together for all of the areas that really need more service,” said Beech. “I think just having our MLA Greg Kyllo take that and introduce us to legislature on Tuesday was probably very helpful in bringing the pilot to our Shuswap area, because I think what they’re looking for is probably communities like ours… that are starting to work together and problem solve how are we going to deal with that wave of the senior population, the baby boomers and the retirement folk, that are coming from out of province and all over the place to live here. How are we going to provide services for them?”

The community paramedicine initiative has the support of BC Emergency Health Services and Ambulance Paramedics of BC CUPE 873.