2021 was a landmark year for Community Paramedicine and Outreach at San Juan Island EMS. The most significant change was hiring a new Community Paramedicine and Outreach EMT, Ryder Cuddington, to assist Director Lainey Volk.
Community Paramedicine is funded through a combination of grants and public funding. Lainey Volk describes Community Paramedicine as, “Working with our vulnerable population through care-coordination and injury prevention, to minimize use of our 911 system for preventable problems. Paramedicine and Outreach overlap at Injury Prevention. We have provided grab bars, safety poles, medication dispensers, walkers, and Files of Life along with other needs. In 2021 this included installing 25 car seats, providing 9 helmets to children, and assisting over 100 Community Paramedicine patients on a regular basis.
Volk also directs the Community Outreach at San Juan Island EMS, which helps our community achieve one of the highest cardiac arrest save rates in the country. Teaching the public CPR and First Aid has been shown to be one of the first links in the chain of survival. In 2021, Lainey Volk and Ryder Cuddington awarded over 461 CPR, Basic Life Support, and First Aid certifications to members of the public, as well as teaching instructor level courses, wilderness courses and infectious disease prevention courses.
San Juan Island EMS is currently working with community partners to improve AED and CPR access. We are working to update our AED registry so we can notify AED owners on San Juan Island when their pads and batteries need to be replaced.
In addition to the prevention and education programs Community Paramedicine offers, they also assist island residents with aging in place by helping manage day-to-day tasks, such as wound care or medication management. Superintendent Nathan Butler stated, “The goals of the Community Paramedicine Program are to improve the quality of life and health for our citizens, while reducing the cost of healthcare. Through Community Paramedicine, we can identify short- and long-term patient outcomes that are appropriate for measuring the success of a variety of interventions.”
San Juan County Public Hospital District #1 acquired Village at the Harbor on February 28th, 2022, as part of the long-term plan to allow island residents to “age in place” or remain on the island as they grow older. Community Paramedicine plays a large role in this goal, as they provide at-home medical services and supplies to seniors who are struggling.
Board Chair Anna Lisa Lindstrum states, “I am very excited to see these long-term goals of the Hospital District begin to come together in 2022. The District has made large leaps in providing aging in place options for island residents with the expanded efforts of Community Paramedicine and the acquisition of the Village.”
Community Paramedicine providers are on duty six days a week for ten hours a day, providing back-up service for the on-duty EMTs and Paramedics when necessary. On average twenty-four percent of our calls occur concurrently, requiring an additional crew to respond. Community Paramedicine EMTs can easily fill the gap and respond with a second ambulance.
If someone you know may benefit from one of the services provided by the Outreach Department at San Juan Island EMS, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-378-5152.