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Innovative Community Paramedicine Program Expanding across Canada

A model of care proven to reduce EMS calls — which frees up ambulances for quicker response times and may help reduce the burden on emergency departments — is expanding to sites across Canada.

In April, Dr. Gina Agarwal and the McMaster Community Paramedicine Research Team were awarded Health Care Policy Contribution Program (HCPCP) funding by Health Canada to expand the innovative Community Paramedicine at Clinic (CP@clinic) program with paramedic services across Canada. CP@clinic is the leading evidence-based community paramedicine wellness clinic model and has the potential to benefit communities across Canada.

CP@clinic is already well-established in Ontario implemented by 17 paramedic services in their local communities. The funding from Health Canada will allow Agarwal and her team to adapt CP@clinic to the unique needs and contexts of communities across the country and to develop the infrastructure necessary to run a sustainable program in multiple provinces.

In CP@clinic, paramedics hold regular drop-in sessions at subsidized housing buildings. During these sessions, using evidence–based tools, paramedics help assess building residents’ chronic disease risks. At the same time, paramedics also provide information on topics like healthy eating, physical activity and quitting smoking.

Among older adults living in subsidized housing, the program significantly lowered the number of ambulance calls, improved quality of life and ability to perform usual activities, and lowered systolic blood pressure.

“Working with our paramedic services partners, we have tested and improved the CP@clinic model with a broad spectrum of urban and rural communities in Ontario,” says Agarwal. “This new funding is going to help us develop locally relevant instances of the program with paramedic services across Canada.” She is a professor in the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University and a family physician.

Distinguished publications in both the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) and Prehospital Emergency Care demonstrate the impact of CP@clinic on the health system and residents in subsidized housing. The CMAJ article received the 2019 Article of the Year award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research-Institute of Health Services and Policy Research (CIHR-IHSPR).

To learn more about CP@clinic visit https://communityparamedicineresearch.ca/

McMaster University Department of Family MedicineMichael G. DeGroote School of Medicine