Palliative Care Training for Paramedics

Kamloops paramedics first in B.C. to receive palliative care training for paramedics

Dominika Lirette · CBC · Posted: Aug 22, 2019

[Excerpt] Kamloops is the first B.C. city to take part in a trial by national non-profit Pallium Canada, which gives paramedics palliative care training. 

The training is meant to reduce hospital visits for patients with life-limiting diseases by giving paramedics tools to treat people at home — if it’s within the patient’s care plan, explained Renee Gilroy, an advanced care paramedic with B.C. Ambulance.

“It’s been really amazing,” she said.

“They want to be in a place that they’ve chosen, they don’t want to be in the hospital where it’s loud and there’s bright lights and everything like that. They want to be surrounded by their family and friends in a situation that they’ve chosen. They want to take the control back.”

Another common symptom palliative patients experience is shortness of breath.

“They don’t necessarily need to go to the hospital if that’s not their wish, but we can assist them with different interventions,” said Gilroy.

This includes medication, or even simpler things such as positioning and comfort. 

‘Positive response’

Palliative care training is a big change to the treatment guidelines for paramedics, Gilroy said.

“It’s been an overwhelming positive response from all the paramedics in the area so far and we’re excited that the rest of them will get the training as well,” she said.

So far, there are a few paramedic specialists in Vancouver that have received the training, as well as some community paramedics in rural areas, but Kamloops is the first B.C. city to participate in the pilot project.

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