Paramedicine program expands to deliver services during COVID-19 pandemic

A paramedic wearing a mask and face shield giving a flu vaccine to a senior community member

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in the need for the City’s Community Paramedicine program.

This program has evolved during the pandemic with help from Home and Community Care Support Services (Waterloo Wellington), Guelph and Area Ontario Health Team, Family Health Teams, and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health to keep Guelph’s high-risk populations healthy and safe by delivering medical services to them in their homes.

Before COVID-19, community paramedics helped people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure and uncontrolled diabetes to be monitored remotely with a blood pressure machine, oxygen monitor, scale, and glucometer. The results get sent directly to the community paramedic on duty and are monitored for changes or readings that are concerning.

In October 2020, the program added COVID-19 remote care monitoring to their list of duties. In this program, public health and assessment centre staff notify the community paramedic when there is a person in the community that tests positive for COVID-19 and is deemed high risk. The community paramedics provide support and monitor the person and their symptoms for 14 days. If needed, monitoring equipment can be installed to see what the patient’s daily vitals are.

Community paramedics also work closely with public health to do COVID-19 swabbing in long-term care homes having a COVID-19 outbreak. They are also visiting people’s homes that require a COVID-19 swab but are physically unable to get to the assessment centre due to mobility barriers.

Most recently, community paramedics have delivered flu vaccines to at-risk populations in the comfort and safety of their home. By working with public health, Guelph-Wellington paramedics are able get COVID-19 vaccines to vulnerable populations that would otherwise not be able to get it.

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