Muskoka’s Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care program is getting a $3.25 million boost from the province.

Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller explains that the program is designed to help “end hallway healthcare” and give seniors additional care. He adds that the aim of the program is to improve access to primary healthcare and reduce non-urgent 911 calls. 

The Chief of Muskoka Paramedic Services Jeff McWilliam explains the program is implemented in three ways in Muskoka. The first is community referral by EMS. He says that all paramedics can identify patients who may need services offered through the program. The second is a community wellness clinic. McWilliam explains that paramedics will go to long-term care homes to do routine check-ups on residents and provide tips on how they can take care of themselves. The third phase is a home visit. A paramedic will visit a senior’s home to give them the care they need in an environment they’re comfortable in. 

McWilliam says the base funding for the program is $64,000 so this multi-million dollar boost is “phenomenal.” 

With the extra money, he says they will look to expand the program by increasing how many hours paramedics are available. McWilliam hopes to eventually have the program running 24/7. 

Additional paramedics will now be able to get training thanks to the funding. There are currently four on staff, but six more can now be trained. 

Miller said that before the pandemic, Ontario LTCs were at 99-percent capacity with over 35,000 seniors waiting for a spot. That includes 160 for Fairvern Nursing Home and 226 for Muskoka Landing in Huntsville, 122 for Muskoka Shores in Gravenhurst, and 337 for The Pines in Bracebridge.

Miller and McWilliam were joined at the announcement by District of Muskoka Chair John Klinck and District Councillor and Health Services Committee Chair Steve Clement.