Pam Rupe, staff sonographer at Community Howard's Women's Center, looks through paperwork on Friday, Sept. 4, 2015. Kelly Lafferty Gerber | Kokomo Tribune

Community Howard Regional Health revealed Monday that the hospital has launched a new program, Community Paramedicine, to provide additional, free at-home support and education to patients discharged from the hospital with certain chronic health concerns.

Through the Community Paramedicine program, Community Howard paramedics will visit patients discharged from the hospital with chronic pulmonary or heart diseases with the goal of positively impacting the patient’s transition from the hospital to home, according to a media release. 

“Our mission is to help improve the health of this community and that extends beyond the care we deliver while patients are in our hospital,” said Joe Hooper, president of Community Howard in the release. 

“We know that it can be difficult for patients with chronic diseases to properly manage their health once they are back home. By having one of our licensed paramedics go out to a patient’s home, sit with them and talk through how to best manage their disease, we will be better able to help give the patient the tools they need to improve their health.”

All patients discharged from Community Howard receive a phone call within 24 hours after discharge to check on the status of the patient’s health and to answer questions. 

Patients identified as needing more in-depth follow-up will now be visited by a paramedic through the Community Paramedicine program three days after their discharge. 

In the home, the paramedic will provide education, identify barriers to improved health, assess the home for safety issues and make referrals to community resources as needed. 

“Our ambulance crews are often called to a patients’ homes because of complications from a chronic illness that could have been avoided through better health management,” said Mark Jacobs, EMS manager. 

“The issues can occur because the patient doesn’t understand the preventative health steps they should be taking, or a lack of resources like letting a needed prescription run out. Through the Community Paramedicine program we will be establishing a relationship with these patients and will offer support and work together with them to break down barriers that are preventing them from managing their health.”

For more information about the program, call 765-860-0019.

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