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Essex-Windsor EMS Launches Community Assessment Triage Team

Friday August 18th, 2023, 10:30am


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Essex-Windsor EMS has launched the Community Assessment Triage Team, a patient care model designed to provide low-acuity patients the treatment and services they need while reducing the volume of unnecessary transports to the hospital emergency department following 911 calls.

“This groundbreaking program empowers our highly-trained Community Paramedics to treat and refer or release patients, with their consent, alleviating systemic pressures at our hospital emergency rooms,” said Essex-Windsor EMS Chief Bruce Krauter. “It will promote a better patient experience and have a cascading positive impact on the delivery of health care across the Windsor-Essex region.”

The program is currently staffed by two Primary Care Paramedics, operates 12 hours per day, seven days a week, from 7:00am to 7:00pm out of the Mercer Ambulance base in Windsor, and provides response across Essex County. The program has so far been successful in diverting transports to the emergency room and there are plans to expand it to six Primary Care Paramedics in September. These paramedics are also part of the Mobile Integrated Healthcare Community Paramedicine team at Essex-Windsor EMS.

When a patient phones 911 with conditions that meet the low-acuity criteria established by the directives, the communications centre will consider dispatching the triage team, or when the Primary Care Paramedic of the triage team feels the patient may benefit, they can assign themselves to the response. The Primary Care Paramedic will then treat the patient or recommend options other than a trip to the ER, such as visiting a primary practitioner or walk-in clinic.

The team will respond to calls in a marked EMS vehicle but not an ambulance. The patient must consent to these alternate forms of treatment and can always ask that an ambulance take them to the hospital for treatment.

Essex-Windsor EMS worked with local healthcare partners and Ministry of Health officials to develop and implement this new program.

“Our government is committed to reducing offload delays and emergency room wait times across the province and ensuring that Ontario residents receive the quality health care they deserve and expect,” said Sylvia Jones, Ontario’s Minister of Health. “We are also working with local health care partners like Essex-Windsor EMS to implement innovative programs that place a priority on patient care and the effective use of our highly-skilled and valued Paramedics.”

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