Ontario Improving Access to the Right Care in the Right Place

Published on February 10, 2020

New 9-1-1 Models of Care Part of Plan to Build Healthier Communities and End Hallway Health Care

As part of the province's comprehensive plan to end hallway health care, Ontario is improving patient access to the right care in the right place by launching new 9-1-1 models of care so that paramedics have more options to provide safe and appropriate treatment for patients.

Today, February 10, 2020, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, was joined by local MPPs at Ottawa Paramedic Service Headquarters to announce a new patient care model. Starting in April 2020, eligible palliative care patients who call 9-1-1 in the Ottawa region will have the option to be treated on-scene for pain and symptom management by trained paramedics. Paramedics will then send a referral back to the patient's primary palliative care team for follow-up instead of taking them to an emergency department. Currently, paramedics are required to bring 9-1-1 patients to overcrowded hospital emergency departments, even when there are appropriate care and treatment options available.

"By providing palliative care patients and their families with more options to receive treatment in their home or community, we're improving patients' access to the right care in the right place, a key pillar of our comprehensive plan to end hallway health care," said Elliott. "This new innovative model of care will help reduce unnecessary hospital visits to crowded emergency departments."

Under this new care model, Ottawa paramedics that have received special training will assess the patient's condition when they arrive on scene. They will be able to provide treatment, including administering medication for pain relief, shortness of breath, hallucinations, agitation, nausea, vomiting and terminal congested breathing. The patient will remain in ultimate control of the care they receive and can at any time insist on being taken to the hospital. Other pilot projects will include additional care options, including mental health and addictions crisis centres.

"By establishing new models of care, we're ensuring palliative care patients get the proper assistance, dignity and respect they deserve," said Elliott. "Enabling our world-class health care workers to use their skills effectively, while ensuring patients remain in control of the care they receive, is another way we're improving patient care in our communities."

Ontario has a comprehensive plan to end hallway health care, which includes making investments and advancing new initiatives across four pillars:


  1. Prevention and health promotion: keeping patients as healthy as possible in their communities and out of hospitals.
  2. Providing the right care in the right place: when patients need care, ensure that they receive it in the most appropriate setting, not always the hospital. This new model of care will provide select mental health and addictions patients with the appropriate services they need.
  3. Integration and improved patient flow: better integrate care providers to ensure patients spend less time waiting in hospitals when they are ready to be discharged.
  4. Building capacity: build new hospital and long-term care beds while increasing community-based services across Ontario.



Quick Facts

  • This new model of care is a one-year pilot project that will be evaluated to assess outcomes, where program adjustments may be needed and how to implement new models of care throughout the province.
  • Providing eligible palliative care patients who call 9-1-1 with the option to receive certain treatment on-scene by a trained paramedic is one of the new patient models of care under the amended Ambulance Act and Health Insurance Act.
  • The ministry is working with interested municipal ambulance services to develop patient care models for implementation in other Ontario municipalities.

Additional Resources