Community paramedics can help check seniors’ health under new Home Health Monitoring platform. (Lakes District News file photo)

Home health monitor scheme to start in Burns Lake

Burns Lake residents living at home with severe chronic health problems will soon be able to stay on top of their conditions thanks to the new home health monitoring (HHM) platform.

It helps ensure doctors are aware of any lingering problems related to heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes and others before there is an emergency.

The system tracks the vital signs of seniors, such as blood pressure and pulse oxygen levels, which are fed into a tablet device and shared with the patient’s care team, BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) community paramedic Drew Paton explained to the Burns Lake village council on Jan. 29.

If the team notices any problems, it can contact the patient for more information or make plans for an in-person appointment.

Paramedics who are part of HHM also conduct visits to patients homes to check on their condition.

Paton plans to enroll new HHM patients in the program in Burns Lake, which will likely add to the 14 patients in the Northern Health region already monitored under HHM.

The program is a partnership between the Ministry of Health and Telus, and BCEHS is a participating member, BCEHS spokeswoman Shannon Miller told Lakes District News.

The program began as a pilot in August 2017 in two communities on Vancouver Island for patients with heart failure and COPD.

In the pilot phase, seniors using HHM reported a lower number of emergency visits and hospital admissions, according to Telus.

“Community paramedicine offers residents in rural and remote communities with better access to primary health care,” Miller said.

“The program broadens the traditional focus of paramedics to include disease prevention, health promotion and basic health-care services.”

Patients are referred to the program by their doctor or other medical professionals.

It has since expanded into the Interior Health and Northern Health regions.

“All of BCEHS community paramedics are being trained in HHM software. We currently have 95 community paramedics trained and working in 76 communities across B.C,” Miller said.

A total of 68 HHM patients are monitored by community paramedics.

Blair McBride
Multimedia reporter
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