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Free Health Program Available for Effingham County Residents
PARAMED will work on a referral basis from medical providers, Effingham Health Systems Emergency Room, local EMS and EHS patient advocates. - photo by Submitted

For anyone who was recently discharged from a hospital stay and may need help with at-home care; or anyone who just needs help with a variety of health issues, Effingham County Health has a free program that may help.

Established in 2018 and funded through the Rural Hospital Stabilization Project Grant from the Georgia Department of Community Health, the Paramedicine program is available for free to any Effingham County resident age 18 and up. One of the purposes of the program is help people learn what they need in the post-hospital home-care portion of their recovery and where to get those services, rather than relying on urgent care or emergency room visits, which can be more costly.

Members of the PARAMED program updated the Rotary Club of Effingham County at its regular weekly meeting held at the Herald Center on March 9.

“We try to focus on finding the patients in the community (who) were frequently (making) EMS calls and trying to figure out what was the reason?” explained Adam Davis, EMT. “Are they just having a lot of health issues, or they just don't have the education to go along with their disease process? Or, sometimes they just didn't know where to get the help once they were discharged from the hospital.”

The PARAMED program works to bridge that gap between patients and their medical team. The PARAMED team consists of EMTs and RNs who will make home visits as necessary to help patients with everything from understanding doctor’s instructions, taking medications, to helping the patient find other community resources to help them.

“We sit with the patient one-on-one and there’s no hurry,” said Lisa Thomason, a registered nurse with the program. “They're in their home and their environment. They feel comfortable and we can solve all their problems.” She explained the PARAMED staff can take vital signs, help with wound care, navigate insurance, nutrition education, and help patients understand doctor’s instructions. “If we can't do something, we try to find them the right resources and point them in the right direction.”

Thomason gave an example of a 62-year-old patient recovering from a stroke. He had lost his job and insurance, and didn’t qualify for Medicare. The PARAMED program was able to help him get the medications he needed. “So if anybody has problems getting anything, call us and we will point you in the right direction.”

For more information about the free program for Effingham County residents, email, or call 912-754-2572.