Community Paramedics Can Fill Care Gaps with These 5 Niche Skills

Mobile Integrated Health/Community Paramedicine has qualified providers able to fill gaps across the care spectrum. These healthcare professionals can act as extensions of local care systems to help manage complex patient populations. They can provide in-home services to reduce unnecessary transports and hospitalizations, thereby reducing strain on local hospitals.

Community Paramedics have a broad skillset they can use to support community health priorities. You may already know community paramedics step in for acute care follow-ups and chronic disease management. But here are a few more areas where communities can leverage community paramedics for improved population health.

Help Manage Maternal Risks

The U.S. faces an increase in maternal deaths and has seen higher rates of maternal hypertension. Addressing these risks takes coordinated, community efforts.

With labor ward closures across the country, community paramedics can help fill gaps to improve maternal care.

MIH teams can evaluate and reduce pregnant patients’ risks during and after pregnancy. The weeks after delivery are critical to avoid or quickly treat life-threatening complications.

Community Paramedics can:

  • Identify pregnant mothers’ risk factors
  • Provide care for maternal hypertension
  • Provide education for a healthy pregnancy
  • Connect patients to community resources
  • Follow up after discharge to monitor for risks

Educate Patients about Medications and Provide In-home Diuresis

Millions of people in the U.S. take more than one prescription medication. Community paramedics can educate patients on how to take medications properly, teach them proper disease management, and coordinate medication reconciliation. MIH teams can partner with local pharmacists to support patients.

In addition, community paramedics can offer IV therapy at home, including diuresis, medication infusions, and hydration. In-home diuretic therapy can save health systems and patients unnecessary hospitalizations and ED visits. More than 90% of patients hospitalized with heart failure receive IV diuretics. Patients who receive in-home IV diuretic therapy can often avoid a trip to the emergency department.

Perform Heart and Lung Ultrasounds

Portable ultrasound technology continues to expand. Community paramedics can perform in-home ultrasound of the heart, lungs, and vasculature to provide critical information to patients’ care teams. This information can help determine appropriate patients to transport and those who can receive care at home.

Community Paramedics can use portable ultrasound devices to:

  • Examine fluid in the heart to evaluate for heart failure and pneumonia
  • Evaluate lung function for patients with COVID-19
  • View vascular blood flow to look for clots
  • Improve venous access

Support Hospice Care

Community Paramedics can help provide hospice services to patients with end-of-life needs. Many people want to stay home in their final days. Hospice organizations have limited staff and availability for home visits. MIH/Community Paramedics can fill gaps and support the needs of hospice organizations and their patients.

  • Support comfort care
  • Support case management needs
  • Identify and connect caregivers to support services
  • Treat acute symptoms at home

Facilitate Annual Wellness Care

Geriatric and pediatric patients rely on annual wellness visits for care. Yet, making appointments and traveling to these visits can be a challenge for the patients and their caregivers. Community paramedics can facilitate these assessments, in coordination with a physician, at home to keep the most vulnerable patients safe.

In addition, during home visits, community paramedics can provide immunizations, such as flu, RSV, shingles, and COVID-19. This helps those who are homebound or bedbound stay protected.

These are just a few of the ways MIH/Community Paramedic teams can support a local health system and reduce costs for payors. MIH teams are able to tailor their services to suit the needs of the communities they serve and reduce costs across healthcare. A community needs assessment is a starting point for teams to determine which services are most needed and offer the most potential savings.

NAMIHP provides support to MIH teams, Community Paramedics, hospital, health systems, physician organizations, payors, and state and national decision-makers. Members benefit from education and resources to build or grow MIH programs. Join us today to be part of growing the field and expanding this list of services.

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