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Community Paramedicine Could Ease the Opioid Epidemic

Community Paramedicine Could Ease the Opioid Epidemic

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By Allison G.S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest

Like other public organizations, emergency medical services are going through a number of major changes to keep up with the needs and demands of local municipalities. New models are emerging to meet the changing times.

One of these models is community paramedicine, which in essence allows EMS personnel to visit the homes of individuals who require medical assistance. These individuals are not medical emergencies that require transportation to a hospital emergency room.

Community Paramedicine Relieves Overburdened EMS Units

For years, 911 calls from individuals who needed medical attention but are not emergencies have overburdened EMS units. These calls created a number of patient care problems and strained hospital ER services.

Community paramedicine is designed to address these issues. Numerous articles and studies cite the overall benefits of this model, showing how in the long run, non-emergency patients need fewer trips to the ER.

Opioid Crisis a New Strain on EMS and ER Services

However, ER services are again under stress due to the current nationwide opioid crisis. Emergency medical services must respond to countless overdose calls that burden EMS workers and take away necessary resources from other emergencies.

recent study shows that many overdose patients do not get the care that they need to break the cycle, even after one or more emergency trips to a medical facility. However, an interesting new measure has emerged that meets the need to help drug overdose patients.

According to Dan Swayze, community paramedicine can be used to monitor opioid-addicted patients detoxing at home. Swayze says a couple of cities are starting to use this model, which could be a boon to the community and potentially reduce the number of opioid-related drug overdoses.

Community Paramedicine Changing the Way EMS Agencies React to Opioid Overdoses

Emergency medical services will continue to change as the needs of local municipalities change. Community paramedicine is definitely changing the way EMS agencies are reacting to opioid overdoses. If community paramedicine is widely used to monitor addicts at home, it may prove to be a tremendous asset in breaking the opioid epidemic cycle.

Glynn Cosker Glynn Cosker is a writer and editor, currently based in New England. He is the Managing Editor of EDM Digest. Glynn has more than 20 years of writing experience, and he’s the Managing Editor of EDM Digest's sister blog site: In Homeland Security. Born and raised in the U.K., he began his career in government and spent 12 years working in the Consular Section of the British Embassy in Washington – attaining the rank of Vice Consul in the late 1990s. Glynn and his family live in New England.