Durham County launches community paramedics program

EMS providers in Durham County, N.C., unveiled two vehicles for a community paramedics program that provides home care appointments for patients who have already been treated by an EMT, according to a Herald Sun report.

The county trained two local paramedics to head the community paramedic home visits, in which they focus on talking with patients and helping them figure out their medical needs. The program aims to reach frequent 911 callers and those who are homeless, have substance-abuse problems, need mental-health services or live in medically underserved areas. The two community paramedics are now learning how to use Narcan kits to reverse opiate and painkiller overdoses.

"A lot of it's just education," said Durham community paramedic Michael Galie of the home visits. "You do that in the emergency side, too, but you don’t have the time" to devote to education in emergency calls, Mr. Galie said.

The program also connects patients with mental health and substance abuse treatment, housing, job training and other services. "We're able to be a little more proactive," said Helen Tripp, manager of the community paramedics program. When looking at repeat callers, EMT workers can "find out what it is they're missing that makes them call 911 so much," Ms. Tripp said.

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