Topsham Fire and Rescue will soon provide paramedic-focused, non-emergency visits at residents’ homes thanks to a state grant.

The $60,000 grant from Maine EMS will fund a community paramedicine program starting in July, with the aim of alleviating pressure on EMS providers responding to non-emergency calls.

Topsham Fire Chief Chris McLaughlin said the EMS system in Maine is struggling to fill shifts and there aren’t enough ambulances to go around. He said promoting community paramedicine programs could lessen the burden on ambulance crews by reducing the number of non-emergency calls to which they respond. He said the program will provide assistance to Topsham’s underserved community members, like senior citizens, who can’t get to the doctor. A quarter of Topsham’s population is 65 or older, according to

McLaughlin said some services provided by the community paramedic will include wellness checks, medication log management, weekly blood pressure readings, help to access mental health services, vaccinations and assistance with hospital discharge instructions. He said Topsham has already hired someone in-house to fill the 30-hour-a-week position.

That staff member will provide follow-up care upon a referral from a primary care physician or acting physician at Mid Coast Hospital.

In addition to home visits, the paramedic will offer health clinics, safety classes and health education opportunities at local nursing homes.


“We are a retirement community. We have some big nursing homes here and there are a lot of people that could benefit from this program. We’ve always had it on our radar,” McLaughlin said. “Community paramedicine is not new. But for municipalities, it’s hard to find the funding for it because we need our paramedics on the ambulances, and we are always fighting to get staffing on the trucks. But once you have a program like this in place, the community will see the value in it.”

Soliana Goldrich, Maine EMS community paramedic coordinator, said the hope is to expand community paramedicine in the future because it not only benefits the patients but also the workers and the industry as a whole. Other community paramedicine grant recipients this year were Portland, United Ambulance and Northern Oxford Regional Ambulance.

“Maine EMS’s Vision for 2035 really emphasizes the benefits of community paramedicine within its reference to the expanded role of EMS. Community paramedicine creates opportunities for better patient care and provider satisfaction through an expanded role,” Goldrich said. “The format of CP enables providers to work a different schedule, such as a 9-to-5 shift, allowing for a better work-life balance. If done well, community paramedicine will decrease 911 calls, therefore decreasing the entire system strain on EMS providers, the hospital and other providers.”

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