CHAP-EMS : A Feasibility Study

Community Health Assessment Program through Emergency Medical Services

Researchers :

Background :

Researchers from the Department of Public Health Services in Hamilton, and McMaster University, Department of Family Medicine in partnership with the City of Hamilton Emergency Medical Services are working together to develop and evaluate a community based program focused on the promotion and prevention of chronic conditions, predominately high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease risk in older adults living in subsidized housing.  Older adults are more at risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes and experiencing falls which can lead to 911 emergency calls resulting in expensive emergency room visits.  Community based health screening programs that link with primary care practitioners and promote the health of older adults to reduce morbidity may ultimately reduce EMS calls.

Objective :

This project intends to develop and evaluate the uptake and feasibility of a community based program conducted by paramedics focused on the promotion and prevention of chronic conditions, predomintely blood pressure and diabetes mellitus risk for individuals living in a subsidized housing building in the City of Hamilton, Ontario, characterized as low income, older adults of multicultural backgrounds with frequent calls to EMS.

Methods :

Two trained paramedics provide weekly CHAP-EMS sessions at one City Hamilton Housing building.  Paramedics assess cardiovascular risk factors, measure blood pressure using an automated blood pressure measuring device and assess diabetes risk using the CANRISK questionnaire.  Paramedics provide health promotion strategies, including local health promotion programs and resources to address modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes, including healthy eating, physical activity and smoking cessation.  Participants consent to having their CHAP-EMS session results shared with their primary care practitioner and are   encouraged to attend CHAP-EMS sessions regularly.   Data collected includes CHAP-EMS participant blood pressure, lifestyle and cardiovascular risk status. Descriptive analysis will measure the number of participants attending sessions, the prevalence of falls, lifestyle risk factors, the prevalence of elevated blood pressure, changes in blood pressure, the number of participants needing referrals, and the number of EMS calls to this building.

Findings :

Pending.

Implications :

Pilot project information suggests CHAP-EMS is potentially a feasible and effective health program for seniors’ buildings in urban areas.   Data collection is still ongoing.