GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Guilford County EMS is rolling out a new team to take stress off paramedics and give patients more individual attention.
They’re called IMPACT or Interagency Medical Provider Assessment and Care Team.
“The calls that we’re running, the fall calls the check-up’s, things like that it’s more face to face interaction.”
That’s what Chelsea Dye loves about her EMT job.
“Let’s say we go on a fall call, and we get there and you have a grandmother, you don’t know if she’s been alone or she’s lonely, maybe she just wants a conversation with somebody after you help her up off the floor,” said Dye.
Dye can take those extra few minutes to check in with patients through IMPACT.
Guilford County EMS leaders looked at 275,000 911 calls over the past three years and found a pattern.
“Eye injuries, dental pains, falls, medical alarms, welfare checks, things where the patient might need some sort of assistance but is not necessarily going to need a transport to the hospital,” said Hannah Muthersbaugh, Assistant Medical Director at GCEMS.
Those calls had high rates of refusal, where people chose not to go to the emergency room. In those situations, an EMT can handle the care.
Now, IMPACT will handle those calls.
They started thinking about the team during the pandemic when staffing was down 30%.
“Before we started this program if you had fallen and you were injured and couldn’t get up it would be anywhere from a few minutes to 20 or 30 depending on how busy our ambulances were,” said Hargett.
In September, they started training and helping EMTs get more knowledge on assessing a patient’s condition.
“If you do have a need that changes, or we get out there and determine that you need a higher level of care, we’re going to get you that ambulance or paramedic immediately,” said Hargett.
IMPACT works with the patient to help them get the right medical help once they make sure they’re okay.
The team also includes the fire department to help run these calls.
During their trial run, they were able to take eight to ten percent of the daily call volume.
“If we’re running that fall call or that check-up it may give them time to sit and eat, or relax and get everything back together so they can go back out and run,” said Dye.
So far, Guilford County is one of the only emergency services groups with a program like this in North Carolina.
Two to four EMTs will start running these calls in the next few weeks.