With the entire Hamilton healthcare system strained due to staff shortages due to COVID, Hamilton Paramedic Service (HPS) is implementing a temporary medical directive to assist with the added pressures the latest wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on hospital emergency departments.
The new temporary medical directive will enable paramedics to assess low acuity (stable) suspected COVID-19 patients and provide them guidance, resources and referrals to alternative means of care in the comfort of their home. Patients who can be safely and appropriately treated in the home, rather than being transported to the hospital will be encouraged to access alternative community resources such as urgent care centres, COVID-19 assessment centres or walk-in clinics.
The new directive was developed in collaboration with the Hamilton Health Sciences – Centre for Paramedic Education and Research (CPER) and its Medical Director Paul Miller, and was approved by the City of Hamilton’s Emergency Operations Centre.The impact of this new directive will be monitored and will stay in place in place until it is no longer needed, according to a city of Hamilton news release..
This measure aims to reduce pressures on the healthcare system by reducing non-critical transports to emergency departments, enabling more resources to be available to treat and respond to life-threatening and critical emergencies.
The release asks Hamilton residents urged to “Make the Right Call” by only calling an ambulance in an emergency situation, and to seek other health services for less urgent needs.
The Paramedic service is average 44 COVID related calls a day according to the seven-day rolling average of patients, They hope four to eight patients per day may be successfully and safely diverted away from the emergency department.