Region to provide permanent outreach services to homeless, addicted, and mentally ill.

Members of Durham Regional Council have endorsed the adoption of the Primary Care Outreach Pilot initiative as a permanent program administered by Region of Durham Paramedic Services. This pilot, a partnership between the Region’s Health and Social Services Departments, began operating on June 13, 2018 in the Oshawa area to provide outreach services to vulnerable populations, including those who are homeless and under-housed, and who may have mental health and addiction challenges.

Operating as the Primary Care Outreach Program (PCOP), the service will continue to be offered in the Oshawa area, consisting of an advanced care paramedic and a social worker, working with community partners to deliver services to these populations and help individuals to connect with community supports. Subsequently, this program will be reviewed for potential expansion in other areas of Durham Region.

The advanced care paramedic provides assessments, triage and interventions, including blood glucose testing for diabetic clients, medical counselling, and referrals for medical care, or other supports for physical health. The social worker provides client engagement and assessment, service navigation and referrals to community supports, such as addiction and mental health agencies, and counselling for crises, depression, substance abuse, attempted suicide, trauma and other health concerns.

The PCOP team travels to various priority neighbourhoods within Oshawa, providing services 8 am to 4 pm on weekdays.

Photo: Durham Region Paramedic team

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