PRESS RELEASE Richmond Hill, Ontario (October 8, 2019)—Paramedics working for County of Lambton Emergency Medical Services are launching a volunteer run program to provide transportation and care for patients in hospice and palliative care on short outings in their community. The program is being supported by SEIU Healthcare, the union that represents the paramedics, the County of Lambton, and St. Joseph’s Hospice.
The County of Lambton has donated a dedicated ambulance to facilitate these outings. The paramedic volunteers can provide medical and emotional support for patients, if needed, as well as having the equipment and training to safely move and transport patients with limited mobility.
“Many paramedics who drive patients in hospice and palliative care have heard from those patients that they wish they could go see a location one more time or go to a family event, but they have no way of getting there,” says Stephen Adlington, SEIU Healthcare member and paramedic who initiated this program. “I think it will be a very positive experience for the patients and also for the volunteers to witness those patients experience some joy.”
“This unique initiative has the potential to bring meaning, peace, and comfort to our End of Life patients and their families,” states Dr. Glen Maddison, Medical Director at St. Joseph’s Hospice. “The Sarnia palliative physician group completely supports this incredible project and are proud to be a part of it. I believe we have one of the best and most engaged palliative care programs in the province and this project is another example of that.”
The destination of the trip will be requested by the patient and could include going to watch a grandchild’s sporting game, going for food under the Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia, or visiting family and friends at their homes. More than 50 paramedics have already signed up to participate in the program.
“SEIU Healthcare is very supportive of the efforts of our paramedics. This is a great idea that will help comfort and bring happiness to so many patients,” says Sharleen Stewart, SEIU Healthcare President. “We are thankful to be working with our paramedics, the County of Lambton, and St. Joseph’s Hospice to run this great volunteer program.”
SEIU Healthcare represents more than 60,000 healthcare and community service workers across Ontario. The union’s members work in hospitals, homecare, nursing and retirement homes, and community services throughout the province. SEIU Healthcare has a strong track record of improving wages, benefits and working conditions for healthcare workers, supporting the training and development needs of its members, and strengthening standards in the management and delivery of patient and client care. www.seiuhealthcare.ca
For media inquiries, contact:
SEIU Healthcare, Head of Strategic Communication