Chief Brian Jackvony is pleased to share an update on the Marion Cares Community EMS Program following its first full calendar year in operation.
Marion Cares provides outreach and community educational risk reduction programs to the residents of Marion. During the full 2023 calendar year, the program logged 111 calls for service. The program launched in Marion in August 2022 and logged 46 calls from August-December 2022.
The mission of Marion Cares is to keep residents in their homes as long as possible through prevention, education and collaboration with community partners. Programs offered by the Community EMS initiative include Well-being Checks, Home and Community Falls Prevention, Fire and Burn Prevention and Education, and Emergency Preparedness Individual Evaluation. These programs are offered individually but often become hybrid programs as they are tailored to personal needs.
The most common program is the Well-being Check, which has about 15-20 patients who are seen monthly to be assessed and monitored. During the visit, the patient’s weight, blood pressure and blood sugar are evaluated. A medication confirmation can also be conducted during which program personnel review newly prescribed medications for a recently discharged patient and ensure the patient understands discharge instructions. Personnel also review medication for any duplicate prescriptions. Any issues trigger an immediate referral to the patient’s pharmacy or primary care provider.
During the initial wellness appointment, a home evaluation is completed to ensure that there is sufficient smoke detector protection in the residence. The home evaluation also assesses trip and fall hazards, as well as potential egress concerns in the event of an emergency.
Data collected through the program has helped the Marion Fire Department understand the challenges residents face that may lead to repeat incidents and the reasons behind increases in calls for falls in repeat patients.
As part of the Fire and Burn Prevention and Education aspect, EMS personnel provide education on the prevention and treatment of burns, and guidance on when to call 911. Personnel also share the importance of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, check water heater temperature and evaluate heat sources in the home.
Through the Emergency Preparedness Individual Evaluation program, EMS personnel provide individuals or families with an evaluation of their home’s emergency preparedness. They review the current supplies and plans that help families prepare for emergencies. They also discuss home safety, evacuation procedures and necessary supplies to help people and pets in the household stay safe.
First responders have seen the positive effects of Marion Cares firsthand. During a vaccination clinic in 2023, the Marion Fire Department offered blood pressure monitoring, which resulted in the discovery of an acute hypertensive crisis in a patient. The individual was transported to an area hospital and the stroke team was able to immediately activate. Additionally, first responders were able to intervene during a routine wellness check and ultimately transport a patient to the hospital following a lung evaluation that revealed abnormalities.
“Oftentimes patients are reluctant to seek help until the situation becomes emergent. The Marion Cares Community EMS program has allowed us to become more involved in the ongoing health, well-being and successful proactive medical treatment of our community members,” said EMS Director Lt. Lyle McKay. “We would like to thank our partners, the Board of Health and our community members for their support in making this program a reality and a success.”
The Marion Cares Community EMS program continues to evolve and its objectives expand according to patient feedback. Ultimately, the goal is for the initiative to become a Mobile Integrated Health Care program, which is a multi-agency collaboration that delivers a coordinated continuum of care.
“While we are still in the early stages of the program, we saw great success in risk reduction and community interaction during the first full year of the initiative,” said Marion Public Health Director Lori Desmarais. “We look forward to seeing additional positive effects as Marion Cares continues to evolve.”