What do paramedics do?

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What do paramedics do?

This week is National Paramedic Services Week – a week to recognize and gain a greater understanding of and appreciation for the services paramedics provide.   Every day, Regina EMS personnel receive an average of 60 calls from members of the public and 10 transfers from internal RQHR sources.  Regina EMS is committed to being at the right place, at the right time, with the right service. 

Over the last 20 years, EMS within RQHR has grown in scope, complexity and volume.  Today, paramedics are providing advanced life support with state-of-the-art technology along with providing services many are unfamiliar with, until now.

Today, we are spotlighting the complex and dynamic field of paramedic services.

Street level EMS is the paramedicine most people know. We are in the ambulance every day bringing a high level of care directly to the public. Paramedics in an emergency situation are adept at quickly assessing and treating a variety of illnesses and injuries with an ever increasing repertoire of procedures and drugs. We’re tasked with making critical decisions in a wide variety of settings and situations. EMS responds to car accidents, falls, stabbings, shootings, and even delivers babies. We splint fractures and eliminate pain, treat things like nausea, shortness of breath and seizures; we diagnose heart attacks and strokes and do it all in a timely manner and usually in a less than ideal space. We work out of four stations spread in key locations throughout the city and have anywhere from five to nine ambulances in service, depending on the time of day. We are ready at a moment’s notice to respond anywhere in Regina and surrounding area.

Paramedics at Detox

The Addictions Treatment Center Detox has been part of the RQHR for the past seven years. It has 45 beds and is comprised of two units. The Social Detox Unit is a longer stay unit where patients receive programming and education for addiction. The average length of stay is six days but can increase depending on the patient’s withdrawal needs. Paramedics are tasked with assessments, phlebotomy, blood glucose checks, vitals, wound care, ensuring clients self-administer medications according to a prescription from a physician. They also start patients on medications for alcohol and opiate withdrawal if they meet our criteria. 

The Brief Detox Unit  can hold up to 20 patients who are intoxicated or under the influence of drugs/medication for an average of 12-24 hours. All patients in the Brief and Social units are monitored and watched carefully while in our care. Patients can come into our facility via themselves, EMS, hospital units, emergency department or Regina Police Service for admission. All patients whether they are intoxicated or detoxing may be at risk for fall, seizures, overdose, suicide, psychosis and cardiac arrest; the paramedic on site can assess, treat and provide optimal care as a paramedic working in the back of an ambulance would.

 

The Lieutenant Governor’s Aides-de-Camp (ADC) are volunteers who are current or retired officers of the Canadian Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, or municipal police forces and are now Paramedics.

Aides-de-Camp

If you have ever seen the Lieutenant Governor at an official event, you may have noticed that she is accompanied by a uniformed officer.  The Lieutenant Governor’s Aides-de-Camp (ADC) are volunteers who are current or retired officers of the Canadian Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, or municipal police forces and are now paramedics.

The role of the ADC is to assist the Lieutenant Governor in the performance of her duties, and to work with event organizers to ensure that the appropriate protocol is followed to create a smooth and enjoyable event.

David Reed is the Regional Sergeant Major for RQHR EMS, and an Advanced Care Paramedic. He received the very first position offered in Saskatchewan to a paramedic on July 11, 2013.  He serves as an Aide-de-Camp to the vice-regal office with honour and distinction.

Expanding services

Traditional Regina EMS paramedic practitioners are now expanding their practice as they have become an integral part of a larger group of healthcare providers working within two new multidisciplinary teams in the city of Regina.  Community Paramedics now form part of two teams currently known as Connecting to Care and Seniors House Calls.

Each of these teams is focused on clients within Regina, and have mandates to provide community health care to clients that may otherwise slip through the cracks. These multidisciplinary teams are made up of paramedics, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, social workers and a pharmacist, and soon the Seniors House Calls team will include many other healthcare professionals as the benefits of this service is getting attention. 

 

Paramedics work in the region's detox centre doing assessments, phlebotomy, blood glucose checks, vitals, wound care, ensuring clients self-administer medications according to a prescription from a physician

Paramedics, along with their health care partners, can divert patients from the emergency department by delivering care where clients need it. They offer assessments to those who frequently find themselves in the emergency department and support seniors who are unable to access the care they need due to mobility issues. They can assess these clients in a timely fashion and help them avoid a trip to the emergency department.  Paramedics bring the care to the client, in their homes, when appropriate, and provide guidance for their general care helping keep them healthy, in the community.  

Community Paramedics, with many years of practice, provide expert assessments. As a result, they can treat and collaborate with other health care providers to ensure high quality, safe care and an appropriate treatment plan.  These plans, for some clients, include guidance or assistance on more than just physical ailments. They help treat all that in time can affect one's health, such as housing, social and financial needs.

As some of our traditional EMS paramedics transition to community paramedicine, they will transfer knowledge that, for many years, has been considered a gap in our system. The Regina team is very excited to be a part of a new design of health care, becoming part of the team of health care providers doing what is in the best interest of the patient ensuring they receive high quality, safe care in the city.

TEMS (Tactical Emergency Medical Services)

TEMS is all about the safety of our EMS personnel, the police and members of the public. It is about providing quick response times when dealing with a medical emergency in a high-risk, volatile situation. Tactical paramedics are brought into the hot zone, to minimize the amount of time that passes before an injured or sick person receives appropriate medication intervention, regardless of the nature of the medical problem.  A quick response is critical, whether dealing with a woman complaining of chest pains two doors down from a house targeted by the SWAT team or stopping a gunshot victim from bleeding to death, having TEMS medics right there significantly increases chances of survival.  TEMS members are an asset in the field because of what they contribute to SWAT training, and ensure when something goes wrong help is readily available.

This is a small glimpse of the services Regina EMS Paramedics provide in Regina and the surrounding area.  We silently await your call and continue to grow and expand our services to meet the ever-growing needs to the region.  We may be overlooked in the shadows of health care, but we are here – always here when you need us the most.  Happy Paramedics Week!

 
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