Staff with the Stettler District Ambulance Association. (File photo)

Staff with the Stettler District Ambulance Association. (File photo)

Stettler Ambulance Paramedic Services Week update

May 22 to 28 is Paramedic Services Week across Canada.

The theme for the 2022 edition of Paramedic Services Week is the “Faces of Paramedicine,” acknowleding the different types of paramedicine practitioners across the country, including dispatchers, bicycle teams, educators, and others.

In Stettler, the community is served by a pair of full-time Advanced Life Support ambulances staffed 24-hours a day by advanced care paramedics, as well as a Paramedic Response Unit (PRU), under the management of Stettler and District Ambulance Association.

According to operations manager Linda Borg, the crews staffing the units have been “troopers” over the last two years as they have worked on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s provided huge staffing challenges,” said Borg.

“We definitely faced many challenges with COVID.”

According to Borg, while the call volume for Stettler and District Ambulance hasn’t necessarily increased significantly, the time on task has due to delays in recieving hospitals, cleaning protocols, and other factors.

Stettler and District Ambulance averages around 1,900 calls a year, with about 60 per cent of them being inter-facility transports and 40 per cent being emergency calls.

As far as emergency calls go, the greatest call category seems to be geriatric falls according to Borg.

“We seem to be doing a lot of fall assists.”

Some important things to keep in mind if requiring an ambulance include knowing your address or having it available at a central location in your home, such as your refrigerator, have your house numbers or blue sign installed, as EMS does not go off legal land description anymore, and follow the dispatcher’s instructions.

Stettler and District Ambulance is currently looking for a patient and family advocate who “may have competencies in quality and safety,”with expected duties to include regular board and other meetings, participating in fund raising for the organization, patient advocacy, and other responsibilities.

For more information, contact Borg at 403-742-1900.

Borg did note in a recent interview that as of the end of September this year the service will have no contract with Alberta Health Services (AHS). Negotiations for a contract are currently under way, however with the funding model as it currently exists it remains difficult for the service to remain in operation.

“We’re doing the best we can and relying on an increase in funding,” said Borg.

“Stettler and District Ambulance is more than committed to keeping the ambulance in town.”

If no contract agreement, with sufficient funding, can be reached, the town’s EMS service would likely revert to AHS.

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