In case you missed the CBC report, this is a very interesting front-line innovation.
Paramedics in Deep River, Ontario realized that most of their 911 emergency calls were coming from seniors living alone. So they launched a preventive medicine program, where they set up a schedule to visit their frequent callers/users at their homes. This cut the number of 911 calls in half. More importantly, it improved the health of these people.
I like this idea because it’s practical, immediate, and has a measurable benefit to the people and isn’t just some cost-centre saving in the system.
Not only does it cut the number of emergency calls, it allows the health care and 9/11 system to better manage time, resources and health.
By going into the homes of their previous callers, not only do they improve that person’s health, they get to check on that person’s living conditions. This allows the paramedics to see if this person has a decent place to live, has heat, electricity, and food. There’s a TV series called Hoarding, Buried Alive, which shows the desperate, unimaginable conditions under which some people live. We don’t know how many elderly people are living lives of quiet desperation and semi-neglect. So seeing them in their own homes addresses the other failing with ‘corporate care’ where we treat an illness, but ignore or don’t know the person.
The end of this clip says a similar program operates on Long and Brier Islands. A day later CBC Cape Breton mentioned a program operated by the Cape Breton Health Authority had few people sign up for it.
Given Nova Scotia’s high numbers of elderly residents, we have to ask why Cape Breton hasn’t had much pick up? Is there an impediment in how the program operates there or is it merely the result of poor promotion? It’s worth finding out why.