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Paramedics Providing Palliative Care at Home Launches
Paramedics Serving Manitobans in Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority to Offer Palliative Approach to Emergency Care

October 19, 2020--Shared Health paramedics trained in best practice principles of palliative care will complement Interlake-Eastern RHA’s palliative care program with a new, collaborative approach to emergency care. Beginning October 19, paramedics responding to 911 calls from registered clients in Interlake-Eastern RHA’s palliative care program will provide emergency care at home using a palliative approach to care.

“By providing paramedics with enhanced skills in the delivery of care using a palliative approach, Manitobans in the Interlake-Eastern health region will now be able to receive palliative care and comfort closer to home in emergency situations,” said Minister of Health, Seniors, and Active Living Cameron Friesen. “This is a new model of care for palliative clients who choose to remain at home with assurance that support is available in the event of an emergency.”

This service is currently only available to clients registered with Interlake-Eastern RHA’s palliative care program. It is a result of collaboration with and funding from two federal partners: the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (CFHI) and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (the Partnership), through their Paramedics and Palliative Care: Bringing Vital Services to Canadians program.

Interlake-Eastern RHA, in conjunction with the Paramedic Association of Manitoba (PAM), was one of seven health-care service delivery organizations across Canada to be given the opportunity to spread this service outside of previous implementation areas of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Alberta. This service is part of the national organizations’ ongoing efforts to expand the accessibility of palliative and end of life care in clients’ homes and reduce unwanted transfers to hospitals in accordance with people’s preferences. These federal partners are investing more than $700,000 in Interlake-Eastern RHA and providing additional support to expand the region’s existing palliative care service.

The enhanced service strives to address gaps in care that clients of the RHA’s palliative care program have been experiencing when their regular care team is not available. Two hundred and thirty-five active, full-time Shared Health paramedics who deliver care in Interlake-Eastern RHA have been trained in Pallium Canada’s Learning Essential Approaches to Palliative Care (LEAP) course that is tailored to address the specific training needs of paramedics. Training focuses on a palliative approach to care that includes managing symptoms and pain, and how to engage clients and family members in conversations about care preferences.

This enhanced service sees clients of the palliative care program receive in home materials that guide them on how to identify to emergency medical service dispatchers that they are registered with the IERHA palliative care when they call 911. This ensures paramedics can quickly access people’s care plans that outline their wishes for care. 

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