HEALTH MINISTER - Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman and Red Deer - North MLA Kim Schreiner were at Points West Living in Red Deer for a demonstration of the Community Paramedic Program. Todd Colin Vaughan/Red Deer Express

Health Minister Sarah Hoffman discusses Community Paramedic Program

Hoffman was in Red Deer meeting with patients who have used the service

Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman said that Red Deer is a priority to her government and that hospital expansions should have been made over a decade ago.

The Province has put away $1 million in its budget for the next two years for Red Deer-related planning and is currently conducting a needs assessment as well as updating its provincial Cardiac Care Plan.

Hoffman said it is important to the Government of Alberta to have the right information.

“It is important that we don’t waste any time on this,” she said. “That is why we put the planning money into the budget for the next steps moving forward. It will likely lead to the business-case scenario which is the next step and the physicians have been very supportive of that.”

These comments came while the minister was in Red Deer meeting with patients at Points West Living, a seniors housing complex in north Red Deer. The patients were individuals who have used the Community Paramedics Program, which has helped over 200 people since coming to Red Deer in February.

One of those patient is 82-year-old Allan Shurmer who has been visited by Community Paramedics twice. Both times, Shurmer was able to avoid a six to eight hour hospital wait time and was treated in under 90 minutes.

“They were brought in here and they did wonders,” he said. “If I would have had to go to the ER, I would have been there for five, six, seven or eight hours. I have used it twice and it has been perfect.”

Red Deer Community Paramedic Rob Miller said the service helps patients with non-acute issues including minor infections, UTIs and lung infections.

“We can catch those early,” Miller said. “We have the option to talk to the doctor and we can get to that stuff real early so they don’t spend a bunch of time in the hospital.

“I did 17 years in EMS and this is totally different than what I did before. We can spend some time, figure out what is going wrong and deal with it on the spot instead of spending six to eight hours in the hospital.”

He added they are able to call EMS to come pick up the patient if the issue does require emergency care.

“Everyone I have heard from is ecstatic because going to the hospital nowadays is hours. It takes a long time. For them to be treated in their own home is a great value to them,” Miller said.

Hoffman said the program is one she hopes will grow to other communities because it frees up space in hospital emergency rooms.

“The Community Paramedic Program has been in play in Edmonton for three years and in 2016 we saw over 5,000 visits at homes,” she said. “Those are patients who would have been taken by ambulance with at least two crew members on.

“It is easier on the patient if they can stay at home to have those early assessments. The paramedics can connect with a physician and has the ability to treat the patient.”

Red Deer – North MLA Kim Schreiner added, “This is something that has been working really well in Edmonton and Calgary. It is something that our constituents in Red Deer have been asking for and I’m really glad we have added it.”

Hoffman said the Community Paramedic Program is part of their government’s commitment to providing quality healthcare to Albertans.

“Everyday we get called on by our opponents to bring in deep cuts that would certainly impact front lines and infrastructure. No one wants to have debt on the books, but we also can’t afford people getting sub-quality care,” she said.

Just Posted

REVIEW: Lacombe production of Halfway There a heartfelt hit

Cow Patti Theatre brings Canadian classic to the stage

PHOTO: U12 Edge Ringette wins Provincials in Calgary

Lacombe defeated Hinton in the final to take home the title

City of Lacombe to conduct municipal census

City needs accurate, up-to-date population information in order to maximize various grants

New Lacombe Lodge, Parkview Manor priorities for Lacombe Foundation

Lacombe Foundation conducting public consultations to be shovel-ready

LRWSC appoints new Commission Manager

ay Hohn has been with the LRWSC for the past two years as an Operator and Safety Coordinator.

WATCH: ‘Napalm Girl’ discusses journey from hatred to forgiveness in Lacombe

Burman University’s Herr Lecture Series welcomed Kim Phuc Phan Thi to Lacombe

Budget 2019: Five things to watch for in the Liberals’ final fiscal blueprint

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government’s final budget on Tuesday

New concussion guidelines launched for Canada’s Olympians, Paralympians

The guidelines will be in effect at this summer’s Pan American, Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru

Alphonso Davies doubtful for Canada game against French Guiana in Vancouver

Canada will be without injured captain Scott Arfield and veteran Will Johnson

Notley’s government puts priority on health care in throne speech

Lt.-Gov. Lois Mitchell kicked off the legislature session

NDP’s Jagmeet Singh steps into the House of Commons, making history

Burnaby South MP becomes first visible minority to lead a federal party in the House of Commons

B.C. argues it cannot stop Trans Mountain, but it can protect environment

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says only Ottawa has the authority to decide what goes in trans-boundary pipelines

Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick retires in wake of SNC-Lavalin case

Jody Wilson-Raybould accused Wernick of pressuring her to head off criminal charges for the firm

Dutch tram shooting suspect arrested, say police

Police say three people were killed in the shooting Monday and five wounded

Most Read