June 14th, 2024

Province announces changes to palliative ambulance transport


By Lethbridge Herald on July 7, 2021.

Patients will no longer be routed through the emergency rooms before ambulances take them to palliative care facilities.
The change in procedures for ambulance workers and paramedics comes in across the province, Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced Tuesday morning in Medicine Hat.
St. Michael’s is one of ten initial facilities that will be able to accept patients directly from ambulances when emergency room care is not needed.
That includes those transitioning from home settings to palliative care in the final stages of life.
Shelly Murphy is the head of rural care for Covenant Health and was present for the announcement Tuesday.
“Those we serve here will positively be impacted by the expansion of services,” she said.
“They won’t need to go to the emergency room, they can come straight here, and we know the benefits that provides.”
“Palliative care is about providing quality of life… (this) supports the vulnerable and often frail patients with transportation and therefore direct access to the services.”
Shandro said that policy requires those using ambulance to be processed at emergency rooms before moving on to other locations, but that can led to delays and tie up drivers as well as ER staff.
In some cases, like transport to palliative situations or other non-emergency calls, is not always required, he said.
“It will reduce delays for some patients, which means they will receive better service, mean fewer delays for paramedics, so EMS can make better use of its resources, and divert some patients from emergency departments, meaning less burden,” he said.
The change also takes effect at five other facilities in Alberta immediately, including St. Joseph’s Home Carmel Hospice in Medicine Hat and others in Sylvan Lake, Bashaw, La Crete and Rainbow Lake in Northern Alberta.
Four more expected to gain the accreditation by the end of the year are the Magrath Health Centre, the Piyami Helath Centre in Picture Butte as well as the East Calgary Health Centre and the Slave Lake Family Care Clinic.
Shandro said that he had meetings scheduled in Bassano and Brooks later in the day alongside Brooks-Medicine Hat MLA Michaela Glasgo.

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