Impact of a Novel Collaborative Long-Term Care-EMS Model: A Before-and-After Cohort Analysis of an Extended Care Paramedic Program
Jensen JL, Marshall EG, Carter AJ, Boudreau M, Burge F, Travers AH.
To compare system and clinical outcomes before and after an extended care paramedic (ECP) program was implemented to better address the emergency needs of long-term care (LTC) residents. Data were collected from emergency medical services (EMS), hospital, and ten LTC facility charts for two five-month time periods, before and after ECP implementation. Outcomes include: number of EMS patients transported to emergency department (ED) and several clinical, safety, and system secondary outcomes. Statistics included descriptive, chi-squared, t-tests, and ANOVA; α = <0.05. 413 cases were included (before: n = 136, 33%; after n = 277, 67%). Median patient age was 85 years (IQR 77-91 years) and 292/413 (70.7%) were female. The number of transports to ED before implementation was 129/136 (94.9%), with 147/224 (65.6%) after, p < 0.001. In the after period, fewer patients seen by ECP were transported: 58/128 (45.3%) vs. 89/96 (92.7%) of those not seen by ECP, p < 0.001. Hospital admissions were similar between phases: 39/120 (32.5%) vs. 56/213 (29.4%), p = NS, but in the after phase, fewer ECP patients were admitted vs. non-ECP: 21/125 (16.8%) vs. 35/88 (39.8%), p < 0.001. Mean EMS call time (dispatch to arrive ED or clear scene) was shorter before than after: 25 minutes vs. 57 minutes, p < 0.001. In the after period, calls with ECP were longer than without ECP: 1 hour, 35 minutes vs. 30 minutes, p < 0.001. The mean patient ED length-of-stay was similar before and after: 7 hours, 29 minutes compared to 8 hours, 11 minutes; p = NS. In the after phase, ED length-of-stay was somewhat shorter with ECPs vs. no ECPs: 7 hours, 5 minutes vs. 9 hours, p = NS. There were zero relapses after no-transport in the before phase and three relapses from 77 calls not transported in the after phase (3/77, 3.9%); two involved ECP (2/70, 2.8%). Reductions were observed in the number of LTC patients transported to the ED when the ECP program was introduced, with fewer patients admitted to the hospital. EMS calls take longer with ECP involved. The addition of ECP to the LTC model of care appears to be beneficial and safe, with few relapse calls identified.