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International paramedics visit Renfrew County

By Celina Ip

COUNTY OF RENFREW– Several international paramedic groups toured the County of Renfrew this past summer.


In August, the County of Renfrew Paramedic Service was visited by four international paramedic groups interested in the county’s development, innovation, and implementation around meeting community needs.

The international visitors included delegates from the Bavarian Red Cross in German, Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council and National Ambulance Service of Ireland, the Turkish Paramedic Association, and the Gelderland Health and Safety Region in the Netherlands.

Michael Nolan, chief of the Paramedic Service and director of Emergency Services for the County of Renfrew, expressed that the county’s paramedic services have garnered international awareness and are being looked towards as a positive model of care in meeting the needs of community members.

“Renfrew County has been internationally recognized as a best practice in a number of areas – certainly in rural and remote paramedicine as well as community paramedicine,” said Nolan. “So this past August, these international groups came here specifically to learn from and evaluate our programs so that they can implement similar programs in their home countries.”

For the entire month, the visitors experienced the County of Renfrew Paramedic Service by participating in presentations, demonstrations, hands-on training, ride-alongs with local paramedics and visits with clients across the county.

“We gave them a briefing in Arnprior in terms of what the county-wide activities were and then they spent days on the road with front-line paramedics to see patients and understand how the system was best utilized. They travelled with us to patients’ homes all across the county from Deep River to Barry's Bay and in Pembroke,” said Nolan. “We even had two paramedics from Holland who came and did ride-alongs with our staff. They were very interested in our remote patient access – so how do we respond to patients in Algonquin Park or in difficult-to-access locations.”

The presentations and discussions covered topics such as community paramedics, the community paramedic response unit model, remote access treatment teams, portable ultrasound technology, and internal and external stakeholder relationship development.

“They will be following up with reports on their observations within our service and will offer any recommendations that they can make so that we can do a better job. That's part of our commitment is to open up our doors, let them see the good and the bad, and allow them to share their unique perspective on how we can improve our service for the community,” said Nolan.

Nolan added that he’s pleased that the County of Renfrew Paramedic Service continued to be viewed as a model of best practice and he looks forward to continued national and international collaboration.

“They provided us with a lot of positive feedback with most comments focusing on the dedication and the commitment of our staff for their patients – something that they witnessed firsthand,” said Nolan. 

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