Home Medical Technology and Novel Medications
As community care advances, new home medical technologies and novel medications are being introduced for home use by highly trained patients and caregivers. They are generally used by patients with complex medical histories who may require emergent interventions which are not described in, or aligned with, the BLS PCS or ALS PCS.
A “home medical technology” is an external or internal mechanical device prescribed by a member of a regulated health profession for the purpose of treating a medical condition.
A “novel medication” is a self/caregiver-administered medication prescribed by a member of a regulated health profession that is required to treat patients with generally rare and unusually complex chronic medical conditions which are often end stage. The medication may be self/caregiver-administered by any route into any part of the body.
These can be encountered unexpectedly by paramedics without any prior knowledge that these technologies or medications are being used in the community. Paramedics may not be familiar with the use of these technologies or medications, even though they may be required to provide care.
In some cases, when Base Hospital Medical Directors are alerted to these devices, medications or care requirements, a local medical directive may be issued to guide specific care for these patients. Such directives should be followed until further consideration by the Medical Advisory Committee.
A paramedic may assume patients or caregivers have knowledge about the technology or medication if they confirm that they were trained in its use and/or administration. A paramedic should advise the patient or caregiver to follow any specific steps or provide any advice about restarting/stopping the device or novel medication. A paramedic may only assist a patient within the authorized paramedic skill set.
When care requirements are uncertain, but the patient is stable, transport the patient. If the patient is unstable, consider patching to the BHP. Alternatively, consider contacting the responsible member of a regulated health profession.
A paramedic may follow written advice provided by their Base Hospital Medical Directors even if this advice is outside the conditions and contraindications of the BLS PCS and ALS PCS.