Beech Grove launching program aimed to provide in-home healthcare, reduce hospital visits

BEECH GROVE, Ind. – A growing way to provide healthcare is coming to people 55 and older. Beech Grove leaders said they're starting a community paramedicine program next month that will bring EMTs from the fire department to residents' homes.

The program starts a line of communication between area hospitals and the fire department. When a resident is released from the hospital and sent home, hospital personnel notify the fire department's paramedics.

“With an older population, they are at a larger risk for injury or illness," said Beech Grove Mayor Dennis Buckley. "When they are discharged from the hospital, you want to make sure they’re safe at home.”

Paramedics will be told about any conditions the patient is dealing with, and will check up on the resident.

“Looking out for trip hazards, checking their smoke detectors, and going over their medical needs," said Beech Grove Fire Chief, Robert Cheshire. "They'll look over their medications and make sure they're taking their medications."

Beech Grove's fire department currently has 25 certified paramedics. Several of them recently completed a training program through Community Health Network. Funds to cover the training were provided through the Community Health Network Foundation.

The goal, at least initially for the program, is to have one trained paramedic for each crew on duty. That allows the EMT to get vitals and other information from a patient at home.

"We also learned some computer-based programs," Cheshire said. "So, we can document the information and we can share it between the hospital and paramedics on the street.”

Buckley said the service is free for residents in his community.

“Some folks live alone and we want to make sure they are okay," Buckley said. "That’s the basis of this program. It’s relatively simple but much needed.”

According to Community Health Network, paramedicine programs have started in many communities across the nation as a means to connect high-risk and underserved patients. Those patients are typically ones who make unnecessary visits to the emergency room or make other doctor appointments that could be done inside the home.

Community Health Network helped Fishers launch a paramedicine program in 2015. An additional program is set to begin in from Community Howard Regional Hospital called Community Cares Howard Paramedicine Program in 2018.

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