B.C. paramedics to be trained in at-home care for seriously ill, end-of-life patients

Program’s goal is to better serve patients in palliative care and reduce unnecessary trips to the ER

B.C. paramedics will soon be trained to better treat seriously ill and older patients, as the province moves to reduce unnecessary trips to the hospital.

BC Emergency Health Services announced Tuesday it is receiving about $1 million to train first responders over the next four years.

The funding, provided by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer and the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare, is part of a nationwide initiative to train 5,000 paramedics across the country. Roughly 65 to 80 per cent of people in Canada receiving palliative care have cancer.

According to the foundation, 86 per cent of Canadians believe palliative care should be provided at home as much as possible, and 75 per cent would prefer to die at home than in hospital.

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The program will be developed similar to programs in Alberta, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, where paramedics are trained to treat pain and symptoms often felt by people with serious illnesses.

Nancy Kotani, BCEHS chief transformation officer, said giving paramedics the ability to offer this care will allow more patients at end-of-life to stay at home instead of having to take unwanted trips to the emergency room to be treated.


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