Redmond EMS program for chronic patient care growing
Taking care of people with chronic ailments is a constant problem i n modern health care. Take for instance someone like Lorene Abbott, who suffers from COPD (that’s chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.) In the past years because of her condition, she’s ended up i n the hospital several times.
She just got back home from a stint under medical care, and would prefer as much as possible to stay at home.
When she was offered a chance to take part in a Redmond EMS- based program that would bring health care providers to her door instead of having to go to them, she was glad for the chance.
That program started in 2017 is now showing signs of real results, and patients like Abbott see it as a real chance to take of their life back for their own.
“It’s the best thing that ever happened around here in a long time,” she said. “The only thing they can’t do that the hospital does is the X-Rays.”
For Abbott, who already has trouble getting around because of her COPD, visits to her house from Redmond EMS personnel to check her vital signs and make sure she’s OK saves her not only from having to make as many emergency trips to the hospital, but also cuts down on the number of times she needs to drive to Rome for doctor’s visits.
When she does feel like something more is wrong than her usual troubles, she can call 911 and get help as well.
“They come out to help you, and they can decide whether you need to go to the hospital or not,” she said. “They always tell you if you don’t start feeling better, just call. It’s better not to risk your health.”
Abbott isn’t the only one benefitting from the service. The story of Larry Duke is one that is similar to many.
He began having chest pains and coughs, and before he knew it was in the hospital with pneumonia.
“The second time I had a heart attack,” Duke said.
After that second visit, he’d learned of the program from Redmond EMS director Marty Robinson, who got him enrolled in the mobile integrated health program.
So instead of having to make trips to the doctor’s office to check in on him, paramedics make the trip out to see him instead.
“It has saved me a lot of time and hassle, having to go back and forth to the hospital every day,” he said. “When you first come home, you’re in pretty bad shape after a heart surgery.”
Since t he programs inception in 2017, Robinson said the program has been growing. There are 44 patients enrolled in the Redmond EMS service area, 19 of those in Polk County alone.
People remain enrolled for an average of 30 to 45 days depending on what their needs are, Robinson said.
“Each visit lasts an average of 37 minutes and consists of a complete assessment,” he said. “They have at least one visit weekly, sometimes more if needed.”
Referrals come from a lot of different areas, but those interested in the program should ask their doctor’s office about taking part, or agencies at One Door Polk and Coosa Valley Home Health.
The whole idea is to reduce the amount of trips the EMS service has to make with chronic patients, and Robinson said it is thus far working.
Plus f or people l i ke Abbott and Duke, having the friendly service at home instead of going to a doctor’s office is worth it alone.
“They help me stay out of the hospital quite a lot, so hats off to them,” Abbott said.
Larry Duke is one of 19 enrolled in a Redmond EMS program bringing medical treatment for chronic ailments and more to patients.