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$60K grant helps Maine FD launch community paramedicine program

Topsham Fire Rescue program will focus on seniors and non-emergency calls


By Bill Carey

TOPSHAM, Maine — A $60,000 grant from Maine EMS will help a fire department launch a community paramedicine program this summer to support EMS services.

Topsham Fire and Rescue’s program hopes to shift non-emergency calls to the community paramedicine program. The program will focus on Topsham’s community members who cannot get to a doctor, the Sun Journal reported.

Fire Chief Chris McLaughlin said the program will include wellness checks, medication log management, weekly blood pressure readings; and assistance with mental health services, vaccinations and hospital discharge instructions.

“We are a retirement community. We have some big nursing homes here and there are a lot of people that could benefit from this program. We have always had it on our radar,” McLaughlin said.

The community paramedics will also provide health clinics, safety classes and health education at local nursing homes.

Soliana Goldrich, Maine EMS community paramedic coordinator, said expanding community paramedicine not only benefits the patients but the EMS industry as well. 

“Community paramedicine creates opportunities for better patient care and provider satisfaction through an expanded role,” Goldrich said. “The format of CP enables providers to work a different schedule, such as a 9-to-5 shift, allowing for a better work-life balance. If done well, community paramedicine will decrease 911 calls, therefore decreasing the entire system strain on EMS providers, the hospital and other providers.”