British Columbia is improving access to health care in rural and remote communities by expanding the role of qualified paramedics.
Community paramedics provide primary care services to increase access to basic health care services in non-urgent settings, in patients’ homes or the community. This is done within their training and experience and in partnership with local health care providers.
As of February 26, 2021, community paramedics are able to augment staffing in both health authority COVID-19 immunization centres and COVID-19 testing centres in the 99 communities they serve.
At the direction of the health authorities, community paramedics can provide COVID-19 testing to patients five years of age or older at COVID-19 collection centres.
They are also now able to participate as vaccinators in COVID-19 immunization clinics, in compliance with PHO SARS 2 CoV 19 - March 18th, 2021 for Emergency Medical Assistants, and provide support through unintended consequence (anaphylaxis) monitoring.
If you have any questions about availability or requests, please contact the community paramedic coordinators by email at CP.Coordinators@bcehs.ca
, or by phone at 604-829-4046, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday.
Home Based Diagnostic Service
As of March 26th, 2021, community paramedics are also able to accept requests for home-based COVID-19 testing on their scheduled workdays. This is for isolated or immobile patients, or for those in small, congregate living situations in communities already supported by community paramedics – the applicable locations are outlined in the “Urgent Primary Care Service
Once a request is received, the community paramedic coordinators will confirm if this can be completed in the required 24-hour time period. These requests are subject to safety assessments, and requestors may be asked to assist with providing a second employee to satisfy employee safety requirements. The new Urgent Primary Care Service form provides more details about using and requesting this service.
Community paramedicine in BC is intended primarily for older patients living with chronic conditions such as heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and diabetes, or who are at risk of falls. All patients must be referred by their primary care physician or local health care provider.
Community paramedics also provide community services including outreach and awareness activities, clinical education delivery, and group clinical assessments.
To refer a patient:
To request an outreach service:
As of January 2019, all patient requests for community paramedicine service should be faxed to 1-250-953-3119, while outreach requests can be faxed or emailed to CP.Coordinators@bcehs.ca
. A centralized coordinator team will work with you and the community paramedic to process the request.
See the attached Community Contacts
(PDF) for a list of communities offering community paramedicine services.
Questions? Email CommunityParamedicine@bcehs.ca
Home health monitoring (HHM) telehealth service is now being introduced for patients receiving care from a community paramedic. This technology-enabled monitoring of key health indicators is currently offered to patients in Island Health with heart failure and COPD, and patients in Interior Health with COPD. Plans are in place to train additional CPs and expand home health monitoring across rural BC in 2018.