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Category Archives: Chatham-Kent

Chatham-Kent EMS proves that COVID precautions are having positive results


The recent success of Chatham-Kent’s Long Term Care Home COVID-19 swabbing initiative has proven that enhanced public health measures established in response to the pandemic are working. 

On April 21, 2020, Ontario issued a new testing directive as part of the province’s COVID-19 Action Plan for Protecting Long-Term Care Homes.  Chatham-Kent Public Health, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA), Chatham-Kent EMS and the Municipality of Chatham-Kent responded to this call by immediately forming a partnership to systemically carry out testing of all staff and residents in Chatham-Kent’s Long Term Care Homes (LTCH). 

Testing commenced on April 24, 2020 and was completed on May 13.  Results of this testing produced 100 per cent negative results amongst 926 staff members and 765 residents from Chatham-Kent’s seven LTCHs.  Approximately 85% of staff and 95% of residents were tested as part of active surveillance; staff and residents not tested were due to reasons related to resident consent or behaviour, and staff scheduling difficulties and leaves of absence.

Each home was contacted individually to establish testing timelines and logistics.  CKHA’s COVID-19 Assessment Centre assisted CK Public Health and the Chatham-Kent EMS Community Paramedic Program with testing in these homes.  In some cases, the homes chose to do the swabbing themselves.  The new directive ensured that all residents and staff of LTCHs were offered testing even without symptoms. 

“I’d like to thank our Community Paramedics who answered the call to help our partners carry out proactive testing for our most vulnerable populations.  It’s been a team effort since the beginning to ensure our community remains healthy during this pandemic,” said Donald MacLellan, General Manager, Chatham-Kent EMS.    

Congratulations to everyone at CK Public Health, CKHA and Chatham-Kent EMS – these positive results are a major accomplishment for your community!

Recognizing excellence in community paramedicine


Community Paramedicine (CP) has been an increasing focus for Chatham-Kent EMS. Since 2015, its team of Community Paramedics has been providing care to patients in the comfort of their homes and communities, where they are at their most comfortable and healthiest. Last year, the team expanded its practice to include Community Wellness Clinics in a subsidized seniors’ complex, conducting cardiac, respiratory, diabetic and fall risk assessments to its residents. The overall success of Chatham-Kent’s CP program has led to a reduction in emergency department visits by more than 50 per cent.

On February 28th, that success was recognized by the Ontario Community Paramedicine Secretariat (OCPS), which presented Chatham-Kent EMS General Manager Donald MacLellan and the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) with the Leadership in Community Paramedicine award. The award recognizes their ongoing efforts to improve the health of their community and the teamwork they’ve demonstrated in launching and expanding the program.

The OCPS supports the ongoing development of community paramedicine across Ontario. Among its goals is strengthening collaborations and partnerships, particularly with primary care, that can prevent hospitalizations and improve the patient experiences as they transition from acute care settings back to the community. In recognizing Donald and the CKHA, the OCPS hopes to “highlight the successes of planning and implementation of community paramedicine as part of a new approach to health care delivery”.

Congratulations to Donald and the entire team of Chatham-Kent EMS CPs on this well-deserved recognition!

Donald MacLellan, General Manager, Chatham-Kent EMS – fourth from right – with his co-recipients from the CKHA and award presenters from the OCPS

Chatham-Kent EMS helps cut Emergency Department offload delays in half


On January 27th, Chatham-Kent EMS General Manager Donald MacLellan announced an incredible accomplishment: since March of last year, Chatham-Kent EMS paramedics and Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) staff had successfully reduced offload delays by 50 per cent at local Emergency Departments.

Not only had they cut the average wait time from 42 minutes to 23 minutes – getting patients the care they need sooner – the team from Chatham-Kent EMS and CKHA also reduced the time paramedics need to wait with their patients by approximately eight hours a day.

Starting in March of last year, Chatham-Kent EMS paramedics and CKHA staff worked together to tackle the issue of offload delays. While the CKHA reported 617 hours of offload delays in 2017, that number had skyrocketed by more than 155 per cent in 2018 to 1,577 hours. Knowing something had to be done to alleviate the delays and get paramedics back on the road sooner, the team began exploring ways to make that goal a reality.

The first step has been to hire a new offload nurse at the CKHA’s Emergency Department, who triages and treats less serious patients, dramatically reducing the time paramedics need to wait with their patients. It’s an approach that has been working at other hospitals in Ontario as the province looks at ways to increase capacity within its acute care facilities. The government is also exploring different models of care that could see an increased role for paramedics in the triage and treatment of non-emergency patients.

As CKHA CEO Lori Marshall said during the Chatham-Kent EMS announcement: “This is again another example within our community of how our organizations work so well together.”

Chatham-Kent EMS General Manager Donald MacLellan (far left) with CKHA staff (Photo credit: Paul Pedro,

Chatham-Kent EMS recognized for improving stroke patient outcomes


In less than a year, Chatham-Kent, Ontario’s Code Stroke Working Group has gone from its inception to being recognized for its focus on improving the lives of stroke patients and their families.

The Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) – a 200 bed community hospital, serving the residents of Chatham and rural Kent county – recently recognized the Code Stroke Working Group with the Team Award during its 15th annual Alliance Awards of Excellence. The 12-person group is comprised of health care professionals from all facets of the hospital, the medical community and community partners, including Chatham-Kent EMS General Manager Donald MacLellan and Operations Manager Matthew Gaudette.

The Code Stroke Working Group is committed to improving acute stroke patient outcomes throughout the community. After forming in February 2019, the group developed and implemented policies that improve response times and patient outcomes in Chatham-Kent. As a result, the CKHA now has an exemplary Code Stroke protocol that adheres to the Canadian Best Practice Guideline recommendations and directly benefits the community.  

Congratulations to Donald, Matthew and their team on the recognition and for making such an important contribution to the health of your community!

The CKHA’s Code Stroke Working Group, from left to right: Donald MacLellan, General Manager, Chatham-Kent EMS, Shane Helgerman, Director, ICU/Emergency/Medicine/Patient Flow,  Rosemary Milcz, Manager, Laboratory, Kelly Christoff, Professional Practice Leader, Linda Butler, Coordinator, Stroke Strategy, Dr. Zeke Milkovic, Chief and Program Medical Director of Family Medicine, Natalie Clark, Clinical Manager, Emergency and Matthew Gaudette, Operations Manager, Chatham-Kent EMS
The CKHA’s Code Stroke Working Group, from left to right: Donald MacLellan, General Manager, Chatham-Kent EMS, Shane Helgerman, Director, ICU/Emergency/Medicine/Patient Flow,  Rosemary Milcz, Manager, Laboratory, Kelly Christoff, Professional Practice Leader, Linda Butler, Coordinator, Stroke Strategy, Dr. Zeke Milkovic, Chief and Program Medical Director of Family Medicine, Natalie Clark, Clinical Manager, Emergency and Matthew Gaudette, Operations Manager, Chatham-Kent EMS

Chatham-Kent EMS paramedics recognized for Exemplary Service


On September 26th, Chatham-Kent EMS paramedics Amy Larsen and Beth Durocher received the Governor General’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Exemplary Service Medal at the annual Ontario Association of Paramedic Chiefs Honours and Awards Gala in Windsor.

The Emergency Medical Services Exemplary Service Medal was created in 1994 by the late Governor General Romeo LeBlanc, as a component of the Canadian Honours System. The Award is presented to paramedics who have served for at least twenty years in a meritorious manner, characterized by the highest standards of good conduct, industry and efficiency. To qualify, at least ten of these years of service must have been street level (or air) duty involving potential risk to the individual. Nominees must have been employees on or after October 31, 1991, but may now be active, retired or deceased.

Congratulations Amy and Beth on this well-deserved recognition and thank you for all you do for your patients/clients, colleagues and your community!

Stuffing a truck in Chatham-Kent


On Saturday, April 13th, Chatham-Kent EMS paramedics joined other first responders to collect donations for the municipality’s Outreach for Hunger food bank. The Easter food drive event took place at a local Sobeys grocery store, where staff from Chatham-Kent EMS, Chatham-Kent Fire & Emergency Services and the Ontario Provincial Police bagged non-perishable donations and packed them onto a Chatham-Kent EMS ambulance. Thank you to everyone who volunteered their time and donated!

Chatham-Kent EMS brings care into the home


Key to Medavie’s mission of improving the wellbeing of Canadians is ensuring people are receiving the right care, in the right place, at the right time. That’s the goal of the Chatham-Kent EMS Community Paramedic (CP) program, which has been very successful providing in-home care to medically complex clients and frequent users of the city’s 911 system. To date, the program has reduced emergency department visits by more than 50 per cent.

That success has led to Chatham-Kent EMS partnering with Chatham Municipal Housing Services and researchers from McMaster University on a Community Wellness Clinic model. The Community Paramedic-led clinics will be free of charge within a subsidized apartment complex, where the CP will conduct cardiac, respiratory, diabetic and fall risk assessments. They can then refer the patient to health education/promotion community programs and resources, roster the client within their regular CP program, or refer them to their regular primary care practitioner or other community services.

Chatham-Kent EMS Community Paramedics are excited about the launch of this program and helping more seniors get on the path to wellbeing.

Community Paramedic Candice Love assesses a client

Taking the plunge for Special Olympics


Saturday, January 19th was an unusually cold day for the municipality of Chatham-Kent. However, for more than 100 brave souls, including a team of Chatham-Kent EMS paramedics and other local first responders, it was the perfect day for a polar plunge. While the water was barely above freezing, everyone took the plunge knowing that it was all for a good cause. Through on-site donations and pledges, the participants raised over $41,000 for Special Olympics Ontario, more than doubling their goal. This was the second year that Chatham-Kent EMS paramedics participated in the polar plunge, becoming an annual tradition and the most breath-taking way they give back to their community over the year.

You can watch a video of the Chatham-Kent polar plunge here:

Chatham-Kent paramedics recognized for three decades of service


On November 28th, six Chatham-Kent EMS paramedics were honoured with the Governor General’s EMS Exemplary Service Medal 1st Bar Award at a ceremony at Queens Park in Toronto.

The Exemplary Service Medals recognize those persons in high-risk professions who have dedicated themselves to preserving Canada’s public safety through long and outstanding service.  The 1st Bar recognizes 30 plus years of outstanding service.

Congratulations to Mike, Ken, Kerry, Dwayne, Jim, and Joe on this prestigious award!

Like father, like son


It’s not often that you have a father and his son both working in paramedicine. It’s rarer still to have them working for the same EMS service. Then you have Dave and his son James, both paramedics at Chatham-Kent EMS, who recently scored a hat trick in rare occurrences by being assigned to the same unit. Dave’s outstanding passion and dedication to caring for patients helped influence James to have the same focus and follow in his dad’s footsteps. Now, they’re getting the chance to work side-by-side in a career they both love.