Nova Scotia’s innovative Extended Care Paramedic nursing home program that allows seniors to be treated at home instead of the emergency department is now an national award winning service. The program, part of the Better Care Sooner plan, won a gold Public Sector Leadership Award in the Health Care category from the Institute of Public Administration of Canada and Deloitte, Monday, Feb. 13, in Toronto. The prestigious award recognizes organizations that have demonstrated outstanding leadership, collaboration and innovation by taking bold steps to improve Canada, through advancements in public policy and management. “Nova Scotia has a skilled and talented team of paramedics who are responsible for providing all residents of the province with quality care when they need it most,” said Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald. “It’s wonderful to see the Extended Care Paramedic program nationally recognized, especially in its first year of operation.” “One of the goals of our Better Care Sooner plan is to improve emergency care for seniors and this program is doing just that.” Since being implemented last February, the program has responded to nearly 800 calls for care, with 72 per cent of patients receiving treatment at home. The Extended Care Paramedic program is delivered by Emergency Health Services (EHS) in partnership with Capital Health. Monday’s award was accepted by representatives of Emergency Medical Care Inc., EHS’s provider of air and ground ambulance services. There are 17 nursing homes in Halifax Regional Municipality participating in the program, which offers seniors some of the same care received in an emergency department, such as receiving stitches, delivered at the nursing home. This improves the level of comfort for the patient, and reduces the need for non-emergency hospital transports. “The Extended Care Paramedic Program is helping us provide care to our residents in a timlier manner,” said Chris LaBreche, vice president of enhanced care operations at Shannex, which operates senior retirement homes. “In many cases the paramedics can assess and treat the resident at the nursing home, instead of being transferred to the hospital. “In other instances, because the paramedics work closely with the hospitals, the program can arrange a more timely transfer of residents to the emergency department. It’s a good program that is making a difference.” Better Care Sooner is the province’s plan to improve emergency care in Nova Scotia by improving the patient’s experience in the health-care system. Since its launch last year, a number of innovative approaches, including the Extended Care Paramedic Program, have been put in place. To learn more visit gov.ns.ca/bettercaresooner .