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Date Posted
March 23, 2016

Patients of the Enhancing Paramedicine in the Community (EPIC) study are continuing to express their support for community paramedicine as the 15-month trial in Grey County comes to a close this month.

EPIC partners highly-trained Grey County community paramedics with primary care practitioners from the Owen Sound Family Health Team. Together they monitor and treat patients at home who suffer from congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and diabetes mellitus.  If a patient’s health begins deteriorating, paramedics intervene and treat symptoms with the direction of a primary care practitioner. EPIC hopes to prove in-home preventative care reduces overall healthcare costs by reducing trips to emergency rooms.

 “It will be a few more months before we see official numbers, but patients continue expressing their extreme support for community paramedicine,” said Mike Muir, Director of Paramedic Services with Grey County.  “Patients praise the program saying it provides peace of mind and has improved their health. Families of patients have also expressed their gratitude for the service.”

St. Michael’s Hospital is the leading researcher on EPIC and is collecting and analyzing the study data.

“We’ve been fortunate to be part of the EPIC study over the past 15 months,” said Muir. “It’s been clear since day one of the trial that community paramedicine benefits patients in Grey County,” 

EPIC is funded entirely by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Grey County was granted $300,000 to participate in the trial for 2015. Last December funding was extended through to the end of March, 2016.

“Grey County continues seeking other ways to fund community paramedicine and is looking to partner with other health care providers,” said Muir.

About 100 patients have participated in the study.

In addition to treating patients, community paramedics also identify other health risks.

“Doctors only hear what patients tell them, but community paramedics see a bigger picture,” said Muir. “When making house calls, paramedics have a chance to learn about a patient’s habits, promote healthy living and identify and correct any problems with the way they take their medication.”

About the EPIC Trial

EPIC studies patients diagnosed with the chronic conditions diabetes mellitus (DM), congestive heart failure (CHF), and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), three of the most common chronic conditions in the world. The trial in Grey County is operated by Grey County Paramedic Services, the Owen Sound Family Health Team and St. Michael’s Hospital.  The study is funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

 

For more information, contact Mike Muir, Director of Paramedic Services, at mike.muir@grey.ca or 519‑376‑5744 ext. 1242.

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