Red­mond EMS pro­gram for chronic pa­tient care grow­ing

The Standard Journal - - LIFESTYLE POLK COUNTY EXTENSION - By Kevin Myrick [email protected]­stan­dard­jour­

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.

/ Con­trib­uted

Larry Duke is one of 19 en­rolled in a Red­mond EMS pro­gram bring­ing med­i­cal treat­ment for chronic ail­ments and more to pa­tients.

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