Community Paramedicine program provides free in-home health visits

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A new and innovative free health care service is available in patient homes through Guttenberg Municipal Hospital & Clinics. (Stock photo)

By Caroline Rosacker

The Guttenberg Municipal Hospital & Clinics (GMHC) Community Paramedicine program brings much needed health care services to patients in the privacy of their own home. 

Keri Smith, Chief Nursing Officer, explained the innovative program at a Family Resource Center Lunch and Learn session held in the GMHC education room on March 8. 

"The Community Paramedicine program was created in response to a lack of reliable home health care agencies in Clayton County," Smith noted. "The program bridges the gap until we can bring a stable home health organization to Guttenberg residents." 

Trained GMHC paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) work with primary care providers and offer free, scheduled, in-home medical assessment in conjunction with clinic and hospital services. Services include:

• Monitoring oxygen levels, blood pressure, blood sugar, heart rate, oxygen saturation, etc. 

• Monitor weight 

• Blood collection 

• Education of medications and assistance with setting up medication packs 

• Electrocardiograms (ECGs) 

• Wound assessments and cares 

• Immunizations for home bound patients 

• In-home safety assessments. 

Other available services include: 

• Will provide personalized in-home care

• Act as a care bridge after hospitalization 

• Can answer your questions about your acute or chronic medical condition 

• Have secure access to health records 

• Have the necessary equipment to assist your provider in early illness detection

• Can provide appropriate care for emergencies. 

The program is an extension of the hospital's four walls and gives emergency personal an opportunity to work outside their traditional emergency response and transport roles. "Our emergency personal are able to utilize available down-time more efficiently while awaiting an emergency call," Smith explained.

Side-by-side comparison

A comparison of home health care versus paramedicine revealed the following: 

• Home health care workers are registered nurses and nurses aides. Paramedicine personnel are paramedics or EMTs. 

• Both agencies serve patients in the privacy of their own home. 

• Home health care workers travel to their destination in their personal vehicle. Paramedics arrive in an ambulance, which is equipped for emergencies, or the Family Resource van.

• Both provide focused head to toe assessments upon recommendation by a provider. 

• Both provide medical assessment and intervention, but home health care is limited within the scope of the nurse or nurse aide practice, whereas the paramedicine   provider has more guidance from physicians or physicians orders. 

• Home health agencies bill Medicare for their services. Paramedicine is free. 

• When you are under the care of a home health agency you must remain at home unless it is for medical treatment. Paramedicine allows patients to leave their home to shop, go to the hairdresser, and socialize etc.

Qualifications

In order to qualify for the Community Paramedicine program you must be established with a Cornerstone Family practice provider and live within the Guttenberg City limits. The parameter includes Highway 52 south to the bottom of the Millville hill, and north of Acre Street not quite to the Guttenberg Golf and Country Club. If staff is available island residents may be considered. "As a 911 service we must  maintain our 911 availability therefore restricting our service area," says Smith. "Precedence is given to emergencies so an appointment may need to be rescheduled. Our primary goal is to keep the patient at home and out of the hospital."

Contact your primary care provider to request an in-home visit at (563) 252-2141.

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