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

Saanich resident leads crusade against cigarettes in B.C. drugstores

Province allows drugstores to sell cigarettes and some feel policy should change, retailers disagree

Saanich councillor fears weed could crowd out food as greenhouses convert

Head of provincial association representing greenhouse vegetable farmers not worried about issue

PHOTOS: India Mela celebrates culture, dance and food

The annual downtown event brought culture and fun together

Residential construction activity slows across Greater Victoria

Vancouver Island Construction Association warns of ‘mixed outlook’

VICTORIA FRINGE FEST: There’s always something new to discover on stage

33rd annual live theatre festival has numerous styles and topics to choose from

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft: RCMP

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Hearings begin as Vancouver Island mom fights for allegedly abducted daughter

Tasha Brown now in Jersey in the British Isles, fundraiser being held in Nanaimo

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

VIDEO: RCMP unveil new, state-of-the-art forensics lab in Surrey

The laboratory is expected to handle thousands of forensic services from across Canada annually

Scheer promises EI tax credit for new parents if Conservatives form government

The government currently taxes employment insurance benefits for new parents

B.C. seizes 1.5M grams contraband tobacco, down from 5.75M grams the year prior

The 2019-2020 seizures were a sharp drop compared to the 2018-2019 year,

B.C. Speaker tight-lipped about aide’s legislature security tour

B.C. Liberals question Alan Mullen’s drive across Canada, U.S.

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

Most Read