ORFORD, N.H. (AP) — Two Upper Valley ambulance companies are making house calls these days, with the philosophy that a preventive visit may help avoid an emergency call down the road.
The EMTs and paramedics are helping primary care providers monitor patients, especially those with a chronic disease, and also can spot hazards that may cause a problem later.
Incidents such as falls, for example, can result in unnecessary harm to patients and tax the emergency medical system, Geisel School of Medicine student Karissa LeClair said in a phone interview last week.
LeClair, who also is an emergency medical technician, said responders sometimes might be tied up responding to a fall in a home that lacked railings instead of being available when another emergency call, such as one for a heart attack, comes through.
Early intervention is “better in terms of efficiency of the system,” LeClair said.
To intervene before patients need to call 911, LeClair and fellow Geisel student Nicholas Valentini, also an EMT, have worked with Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Lyme clinic and Upper Valley Ambulance to create a pilot project in which paramedics use downtime between emergency calls to visit patients in Orford and Piermont.