Paramedic palliative care nationally recognized
A provincial program helping Island palliative care patients remain in their homes longer has received national recognition for its innovative approach to end-of-life care.
The Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improve (CFHI) recognized Health PEI’s Paramedics Providing Palliative Care at Home program with a 2017 CFHI Palliative and End of Life Care Innovation Award. With the support of paramedics, the program provides patients in their homes with overnight access to pain and symptoms management.
“The success of our program is attributed to our committed team and the collaborative partnerships, in particular between the paramedic community and palliative home care nursing community,” said Dr. Mirelle Lecours, provincial palliative care medical consultant. “These teams are working collaboratively every day to improve how we coordinate and deliver person-centered end-of-life care across PEI. Together, we continue to drive positive change, growth and development of our provincial palliative care services, better supporting our patients and their families."
Launched in 2015, the Paramedics Providing Palliative Care at Home Program also recently received Health PEI’s Leadership in Excellence, Quality and Safety award. Prior to the program’s creation, a call to 9-1-1 often resulted in a hospital admission – which went against the patient’s wishes to remain at home.
“We are fortunate to have an incredible team of health care professionals and partners working together to create new and innovative approaches to delivering services that best support the well-being of Islanders while also respecting their wishes,” said Health and Wellness Minister Robert Henderson. “Many palliative patients prefer to remain at home for care, and I want to commend Health PEI and Island EMS on receiving national recognition for their collaboration on a program that provides them with this option.”
The Paramedics Providing Palliative Care at Home Program is a partnership between the Provincial Integrated Palliative Care Program and Island EMS, and made possible with financial support from the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer and Health Canada. Prince Edward Island is one of the first provinces in Canada to offer in-home palliative care support by paramedics province-wide.
“The Paramedics Providing Palliative Care at Home program fills a gap long recognized by paramedics,” says Island EMS Paramedic Chief Darcy Clinton “All too often we arrive on scene to help those coping with long-term life limiting illness and have no other option but to treat and transport under their normal protocols. This program and our partnership with the palliative home care team allow us to practice true patient and family-centered care.”
For more information about the Paramedics Providing Palliative Care at Home Program, visit: www.healthpei.ca/paramedicsprovidingpalliativecare.
Islanders registered in the Provincial Integrated Palliative Care Program can access in-home support from Island EMS during overnight hours when they have a palliative emergency or an unexpected health event while at home.
Care is provided by paramedics trained in palliative pain and symptom management support.
Since December 2016:
- 410 palliative patients have registered with the program;
- paramedics responded to 331 calls from in-home palliative care patients (60 per cent occurred during overnight hours); and
- of those 198 overnight calls, one third (65) of these patients were able to remain in their home with support from paramedics, while the other two thirds (133) requested to be taken to the PEI Palliative Care Centre or the nearest hospital for additional care.