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Health Service Needs in the North

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There is a fundamental need for community paramedicine programs in isolated communities across Northern Canada.

CSA Z1630, Community Paramedicine: Framework for program development is a new voluntary standard developed by a multi-stakeholder committee to provide a Canadian framework for the planning, implementation, and evaluation of a community paramedicine program.  It includes guidance for the essential elements of a program, including supports from appropriate resources and a systematic approach for paramedic service organizations and their partners to establish these programs in areas where they are needed.

A preliminary study addressed the health service needs that exist and identified opportunities where a community paramedicine program or service could solve some of the gaps in service delivery, monitoring and prevention. Through stakeholder consultation and community dialogue, the study presented views on what a program or service could look like for remote and isolated Indigenous communities in the North.

This report summarizes the results of a follow-up case study to investigate the specific health service needs of a remote northern community. The community of Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories (NWT), a primarily Indigenous hamlet of 900 people located on the shores of the Arctic Ocean, was chosen to assess the applicability of CSA Z1630 according to a predetermined framework.

This case study demonstrates that CSA Z1630 provides useful guidance for the implementation of community paramedicine in a remote Indigenous community in the North.  In the absence of an existing paramedic service, the findings of the study show that while specific aspects of the Standard are applicable, other elements would only be applicable once a paramedic service was established.

The report identifies several areas where revisions to the Standard would make it more applicable to address the needs of remote Indigenous communities, such as relevant program indicators and consideration for broader stakeholder and partner participation in community paramedicine planning, and program and service delivery.

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