Tales from the Field: Why Communities Need Community Paramedicine

Innovative community paramedicine programs provide concrete, invaluable and personalized healthcare services to many individuals across the country. This emphasis on personal situation and experiences with every patient leads to many positive personal interactions between healthcare deliverer and patient. Below are just a few.

ELDER CARE

“[Visits from the community paramedics] really have been a godsend. Mom tends to downplay a lot of the issues to me.”
Bryce Durst, daughter of a community paramedicine service recipient, on community paramedics having direct conversations with her mother about her health. Everett, WA; 2014 (The Everett Herald)

“It’s something that’s good to have for somebody like myself. If I have to call them, I know they’ll be here. They’re just wonderful. They check everything.”
Sarah Dovin, heart failure patient, on getting regular checkups from her community paramedics. Luzerne, PA; 2015 (Citizens Voice News)

““It makes me feel more comfortable about being alone. [Community paramedics] can detect something before it happens. It’s like a security blanket.”
Carole Young, congestive heart failure and diabetes patient, on her community paramedic, who regularly helps her organize and manage her prescriptions, conducts safety checks to prevent falls in her home, asks about her diet, takes blood samples, and checks her vital signs. Dallas, TX; 2015 (EMS1)

 

HOME VISITS

“I couldn’t tell if she was better or worse from the day before. She looked the same to me. After the paramedics came, the doctor called back and said she needed to see her right away. Having the eyes of someone else who has expertise to make the call. … I credit them with saving her life”.
Jennifer Hefferan, mother of a community paramedicine service recipient, on a scheduled hospital discharge follow-up visit by community paramedics, which brought her daughter back to the hospital for essential surgery. Denver, CO; 2011 (NBC News)

“It’s been a while since I’ve been in the hospital, but I was calling maybe three times a month because of the pain in my back… [Community paramedics] help me deal with the pain. They take me if I need to go to the ER. They help me, come over and talk to me. They changed my life. They helped me want to change.”
Terry Cunningham, back fusion surgery patient, on community paramedicine and how they have helped him stay out of the ED. Gassville, AR; 2015 (The Baxter Bulletin)

“A lot of times I haven’t been able to reach my primary care physician, but when I called John [local community paramedic], he came immediately, and I ended up not going to the hospital.”
Christopher Collins, congestive heart failure patient and foster parent to six children, on his community paramedic, who recently identified an upper respiratory infection and brought him to an urgent care center, helping him avoid the ED. He also works with him on meal plans, home environmental hazards, and taking medications correctly, while opening lines of communication with Collins’ doctors. Fort Worth, TX; 2016 (Protomag)

 

SERVICES OUTSIDE OF TRADITIONAL HEALTHCARE

“We helped an almost homeless man who was having some medical issues to boot. When our community paramedic went to see him he brought someone who could help the man with a Medicaid application, help him at the food bank and Salvation Army, and even get him into alcohol rehab. Now this gentleman is an active member of society. He called the office recently and said he just needed someone to reach out.”
Christopher Montera,  Western Eagle County Health Service District Chief. Eagle County, CO; 2012 (WCF Courier)

“All [one patient] had was Campbell’s chicken noodle soup, which is really high in sodium and really bad for congestive heart patients like her – that’s the last thing in the world you would want that person to eat. So of his own volition, this paramedic provided some better menu options so that she would not fall into another congestive-heart-failure episode and be transported back to the hospital.”
Matt Hoffman, Carmel Fire Chief. Carmel, IN; 2014 (US News & World Report)

 

FILLING IN THE GAPS

“By helping our students get health care support, [Eagle County community paramedics] minimize the negative impact that illness and injury can have on their success… When the community creates supports for these children, like the Community Paramedics program, then these children miss less school and achieve more success. This is a more holistic approach to both education and health care.”
Dan Dougherty, Director of Communications at Eagle County School District, on the county’s Community Paramedicine program, which serves the 26 area public schools which do not employ a regular school nurse. Eagle County, CO; 2013 (Vail Daily)

“The program has filled in a hole…They add a medical perspective. Sometimes they go with us (on a case visit) and sometimes they’re used as an ongoing resource, where we just confer with them.”
Holly Kasper, Eagle County Health and Human Services Adult Protection Manager, on community paramedicine contributions to her organization’s services. Eagle County, CO; 2013 (Vail Daily)