The job of paramedic conjures up the image of a someone rushing to an emergency in an ambulance, lights flashing and siren blaring — not Shelly Brown. She's a certified community paramedic with Regions Hospital in St. Paul who drives a Volkswagen Beetle, stops at red lights and leisurely enters clients' homes for check-ins.
She's part of Minnesota's small cadre of certified community paramedics, who visit patients at home to help them with transitions out of the hospital and with managing chronic conditions. The early results indicate the house calls improve patient satisfaction and reduce spending on medical care.
On a recent afternoon Brown dropped by Charlie and Diane Stuns' place in east St. Paul. Charlie Stuns, 64, suffered a stroke in February. He and Diane Stuns initially declined an offer of home visits when the hospital discharged him. But they changed their minds and gave community paramedicine a try.