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Paramedics take on powerful preventive role



Bicycle paramedics in Los Angeles.

The Wall Street Journal reports that a new initiative called community paramedicine is training “the fast responders in chronic disease management, medication compliance and home safety. Paramedics are …{being} sent on scheduled house calls to frail and elderly patients or those who have trouble managing chronic conditions like heart failure and diabetes.

“Community paramedics take vital signs, administer IV medications, and perform lab tests as well as help patients understand follow-up instructions after being discharged from a hospital. They check for risks such as where patients could fall in their homes and whether they understand their medical regimens. They also work with doctors, nurses, dietitians and physical therapists to coordinate future care.

“In this new role, paramedics augment existing programs like visiting nurse services and home care. They also treat patients who don’t meet home-nursing criteria or don’t want someone in their home all the time but still have complex needs, says David Schoenwetter, an emergency physician and head of the mobile health paramedic pilot program at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre, Pa…..”


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