Thursday, March 2, 2017

A Special 911 for Hospice Patients

Kaiser Health News ran a story about specialized 911 responders for those under hospice care. For Some Hospice Patients, A 911 Call Saves A Trip To The ER explains a project in Fort Worth where

Fort Worth paramedics [are] trained for this type of hospice support — part of a local partnership with VITAS Healthcare, the country’s largest hospice organization — is to spend a longer stretch of time on the scene to determine if the symptoms that triggered the 911 call can be addressed without a trip to the emergency room. MedStar Mobile Healthcare, a governmental agency created to provide ambulance services for Fort Worth and 14 nearby cities, is one of several ambulance providers nationwide that have teamed up with local hospice agencies. The paramedic backup, enthusiasts argue, not only helps more hospice patients remain at home, but also reduces the potential for costlier and likely unnecessary care.

The article reports that almost 20% of hospice patients make a trip to the ER and this specialized paramedic may help the patient to avoid that trip. The article explains that these specialized paramedics are known as "community paramedics [and] they can offer a range of in-home care and support for home health patients, frequent 911 callers and others to reduce unnecessary ambulance trips." 

The article explains how this works, noting that the community paramedic is dispatched along with other paramedics.  The community paramedic provides many patients with an alternative to a trip to the ER. 

Patients or their family members can still insist on going to the emergency room, and sometimes they do. Of the 287 patients enrolled in Fort Worth’s program for the first five years — all of whom had been prescreened as highly likely to go to the hospital — just 20 percent, or about 58 patients, were transported, according to MedStar data. In Ventura, ambulance transports for hospice patients calling 911 also have declined — from 80 percent shortly before the program’s start to 37 percent from August 2015 through December 2016 .....

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/elder_law/2017/03/a-special-911-for-hospice-patients.html

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