Reduce Ambulance Response by Diverting 911 Calls to Nurses in Ontario Region

911 calls diverted to nurses help shrink unnecessary ambulance response in Ontario region

“Innovative Approach in Niagara Region Reducing Ambulance Calls: How Nurses are Making a Difference”

Sub-Heading: Introducing Emergency Communications Nurses to the System

Imagine a scenario where every 911 call results in an ambulance rushing to the scene, even for non-critical situations. This was once the reality in Niagara Region until the introduction of Emergency Communications Nurses (ECNs) five years ago. This initiative has not only alleviated the strain on ambulance services but has also led to a significant decrease in paramedic calls since 2019.

Sub-Heading: The Impact and Success of the Program

Niagara EMS’s Mobile Integrated Health Care unit has successfully triaged over 16,000 “low acuity” calls to ECNs, providing alternative care methods for issues such as lower back pain or a child with a fever. By redirecting these cases to other agencies or services, the program has prevented unnecessary ambulance dispatches, resulting in better allocation of resources and a more efficient healthcare system.

The program’s success can be attributed to the use of evidence-based software and secondary triage methods to determine the appropriate level of care for each caller. This approach not only ensures that patients receive the care they need but also reduces the burden on emergency departments and paramedic services.

Sub-Heading: The Future of ECN Programs in Canada

Niagara’s ECN blueprint was the first of its kind in Canada, but similar initiatives have been implemented in Nova Scotia and Quebec. Both provinces have reported positive outcomes, with a significant number of non-urgent calls being successfully managed by nurses, physicians, and other healthcare professionals.

The growing interest in Niagara’s program from other regions in Canada suggests that this innovative approach may soon become more widespread. However, challenges such as accreditation and software integration highlight the complexities of implementing ECN programs in different communities.

In conclusion, the success of the ECN program in Niagara Region serves as a testament to the power of collaboration and innovation in addressing healthcare challenges. By rethinking traditional emergency response systems and leveraging the expertise of nurses, paramedics, and other healthcare professionals, we can create a more sustainable and effective healthcare system for all.



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