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May 12, 2011
For immediate release

Community paramedicine pilot program underway in western PEI

Health PEI

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A new community paramedicine pilot program is being offered in Tignish and surrounding areas. The program is adding value to existing health services offered to seniors and is assisting to improve response times for paramedic services in western Prince Edward Island, says Health and Wellness Minister Carolyn Bertram.

“I am extremely pleased with the progress made on this new and innovative initiative, which is giving seniors in the region an opportunity to meet with health professionals in the comfort of their home to discuss their health care status and providing us with a better understanding of how health services are being utilized in the Tignish area,” said Minister Bertram. “An important aspect of this new program is that we are providing increased emergency response for the entire region, putting more health care into the community and improving access to health programs and emergency services.”

“This new initiative presents a unique opportunity for our health care system to better meet the needs of senior residents in the Tignish area,” said Minister of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Rural Development, and Tignish-Palmer Road MLA, Neil LeClair. “This is part of the continued efforts of the provincial government to improve services to rural residents.”

Island EMS is delivering the program on a day-to-day basis under the direction of Health PEI. Two certified primary care paramedics, David Cahill and Scott O’Neil, with over 50 years of combined paramedic experience, are visiting the homes of seniors in the area who accept the invitation to participate in the health screening survey. Once the survey is complete, the paramedic may recommend a referral for follow-up within areas of the health care system, such as home care or primary care, which can provide support services to the individual.

“Island EMS is very pleased to partner with the Department of Health and Wellness and Health PEI to deliver the community paramedicine pilot program in the Tignish area. Our organization is always looking for ways to assist in health care delivery and improve the quality of life for Prince Edward Island residents,” said Matt Crossman, General Manager for Island EMS. “If we are able to assist residents in remaining in their homes for a longer period of time, then all of our hard work will be worth it. We are extremely pleased and proud of the work that Mr. Cahill and Mr. O’Neill have been doing in the Tignish area.”

The community paramedicine pilot program is also providing additional first responder services in Tignish and surrounding area. Should an emergency occur in the area while the program paramedics are on duty, they will be able to respond and provide emergency treatment until the ambulance arrives. Paramedics with the pilot program are equipped with a quick response vehicle stocked with life saving equipment. The additional support of these paramedics in emergency situations will aid in improving the response times for paramedic services in western Prince Edward Island.

Media Contact: Amanda Hamel
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