Today, Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norman Miller announced the Ontario government is investing $3.25 million to expand the Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care program in Muskoka. This initiative will help more seniors on long-term care waitlists stay safe while living in the comfort of their own homes for longer.
This is great news for our seniors around Muskoka, said Miller. Our seniors will benefit by being able to stay in their own homes longer, it will take some of the load off of their families and loved ones and it will take some pressure off our hospitals.
Miller was joined at the announcement by District of Muskoka Chair John Klinck, District Councillor and Health Services Committee Chair Steve Clement, and Chief of Muskoka Paramedic Services Jeff McWilliam.
We are very thankful and appreciative to Premier Ford, Minister Fullerton, and MPP Miller for this news today, said Klinck. This important investment will help us meet a great need in the community by providing support to seniors at home while they await space in long-term care. Many families in Muskoka will take comfort knowing that their loved ones will soon have more access to the highest quality care that is provided by community paramedics.
The long-term care focused Community Paramedicine program leverages the skills of community paramedics to help end hallway health care and provide additional care for seniors. The first phase of this program was announced in October 2020, in partnership with five communities. This expansion will help keep seniors safe, while delaying the need for long-term care by providing enhanced at-home supports.
The community paramedicine program provides our seniors, their families and caregivers peace of mind while waiting for a long-term care space, said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care. Expanding the program to more communities across the province means that more of our loved ones can access services from their own homes, potentially even delaying the need for long-term care, while still providing the quality care and service they need and deserve.
Expanding our Community Paramedicine program will also help to reduce Alternative Level of Care pressures on our hospitals, said Clement. By providing at home support to seniors and others in the community that have had difficulty connecting to the health care system, those that are at high risk of hospital admission or frequent hospital re-admissions can remain safely at home until space becomes available in a long-term care setting.
Community Paramedicine programs can include:
- Access to health services 24-7, through in-home and remote methods, such as online or virtual supports;
- Non-emergency home visits and in-home testing procedures;
- Ongoing monitoring of changing or escalating conditions to prevent or reduce emergency incidents;
- Additional education about healthy living and managing chronic diseases; and
- Connections for participants and their families to home care and community supports.
Having this funding will allow the expansion of Muskoka Paramedic Services award winning community paramedicine program and allow us to reach more clients and support the overall healthcare system in Muskoka, added Chief McWilliam. Community Paramedics are capacity enhancers that will work with municipal stakeholders to compliment and not duplicate existing services by filling in gaps; a needed role in the community. Each Community Paramedicine program across the province may be similar in some aspects however each one is tailored to the needs of the community, as is ours here in Muskoka.
The Community Paramedicine program is yet another way Ontario is collaborating with our health system partners to provide innovative services and end hallway health care, build a 21st century long-term care system, and respond to the impact COVID-19 has had on seniors and their families.