By this Saturday, every emergency department waiting room in Nova Scotia will have a patient advocate hired to fetch blankets and coffee and make people comfortable while they wait.
There will also soon be a “physician-first” triage system with a doctor assigned to every emergency department to assess people who arrive by ambulance. Triage from ambulances has previously been done by nurses and paramedics.
Physician assistants and nurse practitioners will be hired to work as part of the emergency department teams and continually reassess patients in waiting rooms.
Virtual care from an onscreen emergency doctor, who is available now at three emergency departments in Nova Scotia, will be expanded to two more hospitals in the next couple of months. This shaves an hour off patient visits, according to data from the pilot project, and has so far helped 1,300 patients.
There will be two courses added to train more paramedics in Pictou and Yarmouth this year. And an air ambulance will allow patients in Sydney and Yarmouth to fly to Halifax for routine appointments when there is space on the aircraft. That will keep more ambulances on the road for true emergencies.
More collaborative care clinics involving teams of health care professionals such as nurses, physiotherapists, and social workers, will be expanded in 37 communities and 14 new communities are contemplated for those services.
The cost will be in the tens of millions of dollars over this year and next.
The goal of the collaborative care clinics is to keep people out of emergency departments.
More to come.