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Buckeye, Ariz. paramedics work to reduce hospital re-admission rates with house calls

(Facebook/City Of Buckeye Fire Department)

PHOENIX — Paramedics in a western Arizona city are working to reduce the number of hospital visits for patients with a high-risk of re-admission with a unique pilot program that involves making house calls.

Paramedics with the Buckeye Fire-Medical-Rescue Department have begun a community paramedicine program that allows them to partner with patients from Phoenix’s Banner Estrella Medical Center.

Fire Chief for the City of Buckeye Bob Costello said the program involves house visits with patients are who are identified as at-risk for complications, including those who deal with health issues such as heart attacks or hip replacements.

“We schedule an appointment to go see them, we try and do that within the first few days they’re out,” he said.

Costello said paramedics are responsible for making sure patients are in a safe environment in order to readjust to living at home.

“We check their environment to make sure their house is safe for them, (that) smoke detectors work, no trips or fall hazards,” he said. “We make sure they understand why they were in the hospital, that they understand the discharge instructions.”

The team also makes sure they understand their prescriptions and why they’re taking them, Costello said.

“We then work with them to make sure that they get their doctors’ appointments taken care of and that they follow up as recommended by both their family doctor and the hospital,” he said.

This partnership between paramedics and hospitals has reduced the re-admission rate from as much as 19 percent to as low as 3 percent, Costello said.

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