Second Wave Michigan — “Community paramedics can help high-risk, high-utilizing patient populations, who are going to be older; have one, two, or more comorbidities; and have been seeking care through the emergency department or other means,” says Andrew Brown, vice president of stakeholder integration for Medstar, southeast Michigan’s largest EMS and mobile health provider, serving Bay, Clinton, Eaton, Genesee, Ingham, Lapeer, Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties. “Community paramedicine programs are really geared towards augmenting the health care system so those patients don’t have to seek care. Community paramedics can go out and see these patients and tend to the minor needs in their homes and mitigate their need to be seen in a facility.”
Community paramedics can take vitals, check weight gain, listen to lung sounds, draw blood for the lab, or run diagnostic tests like electrocardiograms. They are also trained to administer IV fluids to treat dehydration, replace Foley catheters, change ostomy bags and dressings, and provide wound care.
CIP can be particularly relevant to Michigan’s aging population, especially in rural areas of the state where hospitals and physicians’ offices can be hours away. For example, after surgery, an older adult may need extra help understanding and following a care plan, managing medications, or keeping follow-up care appointments.