Volunteer Nursing Corps Partners with PBC Fire Department

 Timmer, Ellis and Morgan
From left: Dr. Fontaine Timmer, Chief Richard Ellis 
and Dr. Debi Morgan.

Dr. Debi Morgan, associate dean of the School of Nursing graduate program, and Dr. Fontaine Timmer ’17, director of the Volunteer Nursing Corps at Palm Beach Atlantic, collaborated with the Palm Beach County Fire Department to decrease post-hospital discharge emergency calls.

Morgan and Timmer led educational seminars on chronic disease management for 80 volunteer firefighters for the inaugural launch of Palm Beach County’s Fire Rescue Mobile Integrated Health Team. Chief Richard Ellis, division chief of medical services of Palm Beach County Fire Rescue, Morgan and Timmer began collaborating on the program during fall 2016. The seminars were the kick off to a six-month pilot program to reduce post-hospital 911 calls while improving health outcomes in recently discharged patients.

Morgan is working with Chief Ellis to secure an affiliation agreement with collaborative plans to involve nursing and pharmacy students to participate in the pilot program.

“This is an interprofessional educational experience providing another perspective as we step into the patient’s home,” says Morgan. “I view this as an opportunity to volunteer and improve the health outcomes in the community.”

Individuals and families face a myriad of needs related to both health and social factors after hospital discharges, according to Morgan. Frequently, a lack of coordinated care causes exacerbation in medical issues and further instability related to unresolved healthcare needs. These outcomes often result in the use of emergency medical services, emergency departments and a reduction in life quality for both patients and families.

The pilot will offer acute home based medical services provided by nurses, pharmacists, paramedics and social workers. In turn, the program will provide an innovative solution to meet the unique healthcare needs in the community, says Morgan.