In the Loop

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March 9th, 2017

House Call Makes a Comeback With Help From Community Paramedics

By In the Loop

Mike DiPasquale is grateful for the new Community Paramedic Program. Gold Cross paramedics visit "at-risk" patients in their homes and offer health and physical examinations, medication compliance checks, safety evaluations and hospital discharge follow-up care.

Mike DiPasquale is grateful, to say the least, for the return of the house call in his neck of the woods. He recently underwent a "rare, risky operation in which doctors performed a complete reconstruction of his hip and part of his pelvis," the Barron News-Shield reports. The procedure left Mike confined to a wheelchair as he recovers. And initially, his mobility was less than limited.

"I know there are county programs where they come out, pick you up, and take you to your appointments, and that's fine," Mike tells the paper. "But in my situation, and given the severity of the situation, I don't know if I could've even done that initially."

Instead, those appointments came to him, through a pilot program begun by Gold Cross Ambulance and Mayo Clinic Health System — Northland in Barron, Wisconsin. The new Community Paramedic Program sends Gold Cross paramedics to visit "at-risk" patients in their homes each week, according to the newspaper. The paramedics offer "health and physical examinations, medication compliance checks, safety evaluations and hospital discharge follow-up care" for patients referred to the program by their Mayo Clinic providers.

"Having the Gold Cross paramedics come out to my home was just perfect," Mike says. Perfect not only for the "physical benefits," the visits provide, but the emotional ones, too. "They're very easy to work with," Mike says of paramedics Justin Bowe and Marlene Dirkes. "They'll ask me, 'Well, how's your incision? Can we take a look to make sure it's healing OK?' They're very concerned about my overall well-being and not just from a physical standpoint, but psychologically, too," Mike tells the paper.

"Justin and I will sit down, and we'll even talk about the Packers," he says. "I just really appreciate that." (Even our Minnesota delegation can get on that bandwagon.)

Bowe, also a Gold Cross field training officer at Mayo Clinic Health System — Northland, tells the paper that situations like Mike's are exactly why the program was started. "Our ultimate goal is to keep the patients at their homes, where they want to be, instead of in the hospital setting," he says.

Bowe and Dirkes see "approximately five patients a day" as part of their work with the program, and "for now" they're keeping their visits to a "30-minute radius" of the Mayo Clinic Health System — Northland campus. But "plans are in the works," the paper reports, to expand that care range in the future. We're sure they'd have a fan base in Vikings country, as well.

You can read more about the program here. Then, expand your care for us by sharing your comments below. You can use the handy social media tools to share this story with others.

 

Tags: Community, Employee Stories, Gold Cross, Justin Bowe, Marlene Dirkes, Mayo Clinic Health System, Patient Stories

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