An ounce of prevention, the old saying goes, is worth a pound of cure.
That is certainly the case when it comes to medical care, where the emergency room at the local hospital is the default option for too many people when they suffer from otherwise normal maladies. ER care, of course, is the most expensive kind of medical care one can received and because of its cost, it really should be used only for emergencies.
Emergency rooms are also filling up with people who return again and again for treatment of the same problem. Rather than seeing their doctor, many patients who suffer from distress simply call the ambulance and revisit the ER.
But a new program started last month by the Johnston County Emergency Services Department hopes to end that cycle at least for some.
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The community paramedics program is designed to make home visits with patients who call for emergency service frequently and those who may need more of a follow up once they leave a local hospital.
By making routine visits to these places, paramedics can eliminate the need for emergency ambulance services and reduce the numbers of people waiting in emergency room hallways.
As fully-trained paramedics, the team can provide some level of medical care on the scene, perhaps eliminating some of the ER business. And, of course, their training will also allow them to determine when someone really does need advanced care.
The idea is a really good one, especially for a region that is growing and putting more strains on the areas medical facilities to provide quick, efficient care.