GREEN — On Valentine’s Day, the city and Green Fire Department launched a program designed to improve health care and home safety at no cost to residents.
Called Community Paramedicine, it was started quietly two weeks ago as an outgrowth of a vision by Green Fire Medic Brian Lloyd who visits patients after they return home from the hospital or rehab center to assess patients' medical and emotional needs.
To date, Lloyd has met with 10 residents following referrals from co-workers, families and friends, to evaluate the premises for what the patient needs to be and feel safe in his home following a traumatic health event.
“What we want to do is hook up people with the proper resources within the city and the county,” said Lloyd, a father of three.
Lloyd joined the Green department three years ago as a shift fire medic following four years with the Coventry Fire Department and three years as an emergency room paramedic at Summa Akron City Hospital.
Although the program has existed globally for years and has been in the United States about a decade, the Green Fire Department is the first in Summit County to put it into practice as other departments consider following suit, according to Valerie Wolford, the city’s communication manager.
Over the last decade, Lloyd's fascination with paramedicine grew the more he read about it. He talked with his shift captain, Kris Gent, and Fire Chief Jeff Funai, who also are well-versed in the discipline.
In December, after getting the green light from his superiors, Lloyd met with Mayor Gerard Neugebauer, who liked what he heard and urged Lloyd to plan to lead the program.
“In Green, we already have our quick response team,” which also is a component of community paramedicine, Lloyd said, noting that “Green’s elderly population is expected to double in the next 30 years so we need to be proactive in that area, too.
“What I want to do is keep senior citizens in their homes and be there comfortably and in a safe manner.”
Noting the program is for all ages with post-surgery and other similar needs, Lloyd said studies have shown that people who have post-cardiac, post-stroke, post-exasperation of respiratory problems and long-bone fractures are particularly vulnerable.
Once they are released from the medical facility, "they go home they are afraid to move, to walk and they don’t want to fall again," he said. “So if we can get them the services they need and they have the insurance to cover the cost, then let’s get someone in there to get them some help. I’ll even go for a walk with them and talk just to help ease them back into their homes.”
Lloyd added that when an emergency comes in, three medics are dispatched in two vehicles. When he goes on a paramedicine assessment and visit, it is one man and one fire car. “That’s quite a savings,” he said. “We think that giving something extra that encompasses a full health care plan is very important to the success of us as a fire department" and the community.
To refer someone for the program, call Green Fire Department's nonemergency phone number at 330-896-6610.
George W. Davis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.