Connecting the dots: community paramedicine team
The Lexington Fire Department, Lexington Police and social workers from the University of Kentucky make up the 'community paramedicine team'
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A paramedicine team in Lexington is digging deeper into frequent 911 callers. About five years ago, Lexington Fire, Lexington Police and social workers from the University of Kentucky created the “community paramedicine team” to pair people with the resources that would best fit their needs.
“If we’re getting the right thing to them, then they don’t have to continue to go to the hospital,” says firefighter and paramedic Patrick Branam.
Lexington’s community paramedicine team is unique in the fact it’s the only one of it’s kind in the state and one of only a few in the country. The team is referred calls in many different ways, through law enforcement, hospitals, even places like neighborhood libraries.
“Having these multidisciplinary approaches allows us to look at a person in a holistic point of view, look at those social services that are needed, but to look at that medical, to look at that justice involvement, it just allows us to be able to provide that community service to individuals and our community,” says LOOP coordinator Maria Slone.
The community paramedicine team says usually the people who repeatedly call 911 don’t have anyone else to help them and they often aren’t aware of what other resources are available to them.
“That’s all some people need is just someone to say ‘hey, I care about you, let’s see what we can do’,” says Branam. “We all struggle with something, we all have different hurts, habits and hangups and we just need a dot connected.”
The team says in smaller towns, you can easily find neighbors helping neighbors and connecting people to the right resource. The team’s goal is to act like that neighbor and make Lexington feel a little smaller.
“We are a strong community, we have a lot of people that want to do good things, we just have to put all the pieces together,” says Branam. “We’re just the hub.”
The community paramedicine team is currently temporary as it’s funded off grants. The team says in order to become a permanent fixture, it would need permanent funding for all of its positions.