Paramedics in the province will get new tools and treatment options to better serve patients in rural and remote areas.
The transfer of the paramedic profession from the Health Disciplines Act to the Health Professions Act will strengthen healthcare delivery in Alberta, states a news release from the provincial government.
“With paramedics on the frontlines of health care, they play a critical role in responding to the needs of patients,” says Health Minister Sarah Hoffman.
“This change allows them to use their skills more widely and treat more people, both in emergency situations and on non-urgent calls.
“This is another example of how our government is transforming healthcare delivery in Alberta.”
Changes to emergency medical services (EMS) will let paramedics administer a wider variety of diagnostic tests, including portable laboratory blood testing and ultrasounds.
This means greater access to health care in rural Alberta, long-term care facilities, patients’ homes and other settings outside the hospital.
The transition will also allow the Community Paramedic Program to expand as community care paramedics will be able to conduct more medical tests in a patient’s home and provide medication to a patient until they can get to their community pharmacy.
Information can help determine a wide variety of medical conditions, including whether a patient has an infection or is suffering from a heart attack.
This change allows them to use their skills more widely and treat more people, both in emergency situations and on non-urgent calls.
“We know that the more we can do on the front lines, the better it is for patients and the broader healthcare system,” says Alberta Health Services Chief Paramedic Darren Sandbeck.
“Using our community paramedic program as an example; by providing more care in the community, we are reducing pressure on emergency departments.”
The new regulation also provides more integrated health care delivery as it allows paramedics to collaborate and work directly with nurse practitioners.
“This is really all about improving patient care,” says Deb Gordon, AHS vice-president and chief health operations officer.
“This change helps AHS better integrate EMS into the health system, by using their experience and skills in different ways to help us provide patients with the best health care possible.”
The regulatory change also gives the Alberta College of Paramedics and its members more options to support a flexible working environment for paramedics experiencing medical conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder.