Mayor's Corner: Neighborhood Paramedic Program - New Ways For Lakewood To Stay Healthy

The City of Lakewood is always exploring ways to help our residents stay safe and healthy. This is a goal that demands our city to be innovative and use a number of approaches. I’m excited to announce that we will soon begin implementing our new Neighborhood Paramedic Program, which will address key health and safety needs across the community by prioritizing proactive, preventative care and interventions.

For those unfamiliar with the concept of neighborhood or community paramedics, it is a growing field across the U.S. that is designed to address health needs in a flexible way that focuses on preventing injuries and addressing healthcare needs before they become emergencies. In Lakewood, our Neighborhood Paramedic Program will fill a serious gap in our local health and wellness environment. My administration sees this as a wise investment that will have immediate and long-term benefits for some of our most vulnerable populations, including seniors and lower income individuals and families. I also expect the program to reduce overall costs for the City by limiting our safety forces need to respond to immediate calls for help by preventing injuries and emergencies.

Our initial focus will be a fall prevention program for senior citizens that uses paramedic home visits to prevent trip-and-fall situations within residences. For context, consider that in 2021 alone, Lakewood EMS responded to more than 650 calls for senior citizens experiencing injury from a fall. More than half of those situations were serious enough to require our EMS team to transport a patient to a hospital or emergency room. We think this program can help significantly reduce those numbers.

I also want to specifically thank the Healthy Lakewood Foundation, which provided a $70,000 grant to help underwrite the startup costs for this program. The Foundation is a great partner in helping us ensure that we all remain focused on new and innovative ways to improve community health and explore social determinants of health. I see our new Neighborhood Paramedic Program as another great example of our efforts to explore methods for proactive, preventative care and interventions, similar to our recently renewed care seat safety program being implemented by the Lakewood Fire Department

In the near future, once the current Community Health Needs Assessment is complete, we will use that analysis to guide the expansion of the Neighborhood Paramedic Program into other areas of high priority, need, and impact. The program will offically launch on August 1st, so look for more communication from the City on how you or those in your circle (friends, family, co-workers, etc.) might benefit from this program.

Volume 18, Issue 14, Posted 7:00 PM, 07.20.2022