Community paramedicine program helps people in their homes
Community paramedics focus on patients in areas that are sometimes underserved and have aging populations living with chronic and complex diseases, and work to bridge health service delivery gaps identified in collaboration with local health care teams. (Photo provided by Island Health)
Mike Wright was a paramedic with the BC Ambulance service for 20 years and made the shift to community paramedicine a year ago.
He works, primarily in the Lake Cowichan area and beyond.
Wright said community paramedicine is considered a more proactive approach to health care, with paramedics offering a host of services including a wide range of community health promotion initiatives.
“The other part is working with patients individually, one on one, who may be suffering from a chronic illness like diabetes, congestive heart failure or COPD. The aim is to keep them at home longer and living a better quality of life.”
Wright said, although he visits patients at home at the request of physicians, much like community nurses do, his job is different.
He said nurses provide clinical care, like wound dressing, but his job is to try to prevent the need for that care in the first place through lifestyle choices.
Wright is one of two community paramedics operating in the Valley.
The other one is Georgia Nelson who serves areas in and around Chemainus.