FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Fort St. John is one of several in Northern B.C. that has been selected to get an advanced care community paramedic this summer.
According to BC Emergency Health Services officials, the program has been operating in larger urban centres in Southern B.C. for some time, expanding to Northern B.C. in 2015 when Chetwynd and Tumbler Ridge were among the first communities to participate. The program offers residents in rural communities enhanced health care services from paramedics, broadening their traditional focus to include disease prevention, health promotion and basic health-care services.
BCEHS said that community paramedics offer “a higher level of assessment and care to referred palliative patients in pain and patients recovering from surgery at home in order to help them avoid extra trips to the hospital.” Advance Care Paramedics specialize in medical and trauma patients with a focus on advanced cardiac resuscitation.
BCEHS Executive Director for Strategic Planning and Implementation Nancy Kotani said that the new position in Fort St. John will combine the ACP and community paramedic roles, and will be a full-time position. Kotani said that a large number of Advanced Care paramedics have expressed interest in the community paramedicine role and BCEHS is now looking at applicants. She added that the orientation program will likely begin in the Spring, with the new paramedic to arrive by the Summer.