Transfer of care improvements allow WFPS crews more service time in Winnipeg communities

Winnipeg Regional Health Authority
Published Friday, March 30, 2018

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) and Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) today announced a new protocol for transferring patient care from paramedics to emergency departments that will take effect April 11, 2018. Starting that Wednesday, WFPS will remain with patients up to 45 minutes in the emergency department and emergency department staff will assume responsibility for each patient within 45 minutes of the ambulance arriving.

"The WRHA is committed to improving the transfer of care for patients allowing our WFPS partners to get back on the road," said Krista Williams, chief health operations officer for acute care with the WRHA. "In fact, we anticipate WFPS will have an additional 8,000 hours on the road as a result of this practice change.

"We are already seeing great improvement on our ability to assume care of EMS patients and have put in place practices to engage the whole hospital in these efforts to support our emergency departments and get paramedics back on the road."

A working group has supported this shift within the WRHA which has included members of the emergency program, chief nursing officers from each site as well as site and WRHA leadership.

"Each patient in our emergency departments is under the care of our staff - this shift will simply bring ED staff and hospital staff together to ensure patients are not only receiving the right care in a timely way but moving to the right area in the department, or in the hospital, at the right time," said Williams.

As the emergency program has made great strides to improve transfer of care times the WRHA determined, along with WFPS, the timing was right to push for a 45 minute transfer that would see paramedics released back into the community after 45 minutes at the most, Williams added.

Historically, paramedics have remained in the department until the patient has been moved to a treatment space or emergency staff indicate to paramedics that they are no longer required. That strategy was accompanied by billing (WRHA would compensate WFPS) for the amount of time paramedics remained in the department in excess of one hour. As of April 3, 2018, that billing will no longer be in place.

"Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service is excited about this improvement in care transfer time," said Christian Schmidt, Deputy Chief with WFPS. "This will allow our ambulance crews to return to service in the community more quickly, providing shorter response times for calls where patients are likely to require advanced care and transport."

Williams added that the change, while initially set to take place in January, was postponed to ensure operational readiness as site efforts were focused on managing the influenza system pressures and resulting increased number of patients presenting to ED’s and in inpatient units as well. It was shifted again to April 11 to avoid any confusion for staff returning from spring break or the Easter Long weekend from the second proposed date of April 3. This change will be monitored carefully by both the individual hospital sites and the region. Emergency Departments will be supported by their sites and the region should any issues arise to ensure timely resolution and successesful implementation.

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Traditional Territories Acknowledgement
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority acknowledges that it provides health services in facilities located in Treaty One and Treaty Five territories, the homelands of the Métis Nation and the original lands of the Inuit people. The WRHA respects and acknowledges harms and mistakes, and we dedicate ourselves to collaborate in partnership with First Nation, Métis and Inuit people in the spirit of reconciliation.
Click here to read more about the WRHA's efforts towards reconciliation

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