This April BC Emergency Health Services announced that Kimberley would be part of the new Community Paramedicine program, hiring a full-time paramedic to help make life easier for seniors living at home in rural areas.
At a presentation to Kimberley City Council on Nov. 26, 2018, Paramedic Aileen Boyd explained her position and expanded on how the program is coming along within the community.
She says the objective of the program is to stabilize paramedic staffing in rural communities, while bridging health service delivery gaps that are identified in collaboration with local primary care teams.
Her main focus is bringing mobility to seniors living with chronic conditions such as heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and those at risk of falls. The service is provided at no cost to the patient.
Aside from home visits, Boyd also works on community health promotion and awareness by attending events, farmers’ markets and schools to deliver education on first aid and the risks that seniors living alone face.
“We come to the home for regularly scheduled visits (on a short-term basis), help patients stay connected with their family doctor or nurse practitioner and support patients in managing their health so they can continue to live at home safely,” Boyd explained. “We look for fall hazards in the home and suggest ways of correcting them. We also refer patients to the right health care resource when they need additional help.”
She adds that there are currently seven patients that she visits one or two times per week, working on mobility, medications and communication with family members.
Councillor Darryl Oakley asked Boyd if there is any connection with home health care that is administered through Interior Health.
Boyd responded saying that she may refer patients to home health care if they are not already receiving care, but otherwise they are separate entities. She says home health care nurses are there to care for the patient in a different way, for an extended period of time, while Boyd herself is only there for a short period of time.
“We have a strong focus on mobility and safety,” she explained. “For example, we ensure that seniors living alone have a life kit.”
As the Life Kit instructions state, the kit helps those who cannot reliably provide their own medical information. It is ideal for senior citizens, chronically ill persons, and those who live alone. The information is equally as important for young children under the care of a sitter.
Each Life Kit contains an information sheet that when filled out, provides first responders with vital information on the occupant of the home in the event they are unable to speak for themselves.
Life Kits were distributed by the Kimberley Fire Department this summer, and are available at City Hall. For more information visit www.bcehs.ca and click on our services, or email CommunityParamedicine@bcehs.ca, or CP.Kimberley@bcehs.ca.