Eight ways physician assistants are helping people be healthy

Dec. 8, 2020

At Horizon, physician assistants (PA) work at Horizon’s Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital in Fredericton.

Dr. Graeme Young, and Physician Assistant Ryan Bennett at Horizon’s Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital. Please note: photo was taken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and the public health directives related to physical distancing and mask-wearing.

These highly skilled health care professionals  provide a broad range of medical services.

In the Emergency Department (ED) at the DECRH, PAs work in all aspects of care, including performing procedures and assisting in traumas. They help with patient flow, reduce wait times, and increase patient access to care.

Here are the Top 8 ways physicians assistants across the country are helping people be healthy!

  1. Decrease wait times

In the ED, PAs can perform procedures such as suturing, casting and splinting. They can order diagnostics such as labs and X-rays, in addition to writing prescriptions.

  1. Provide coordination of – and allow for continuity of – care of admitted patients.

Surgical PAs manage and follow a patient through from their pre-op, during, and post up ward care. They are with them for discharge planning and any follow ups.

Hospitalist PAs are a constant in a world of ever-changing surgeons, residents, and nursing staff. The PA stays with and manages the same group of patients from admission to discharge.

  1. Improve the quality of long-term care facilities and allow seniors to stay in their home longer

Some PAs are on call for long-term care facilities and provide home visits.

  1. Increased patient access to care

When a general practitioner hires a PA, they can increase their patient load by approximately 500 to 1,000 patients and allow for an increase in same day appointments.

A surgical PA decreases operating room wait times, can increase the amount of surgical procedures and operations done over time, and decrease the patient’s length of stay in hospital.

  1. Implementing preventive health and wellness programs and managing at-risk populations

PAs work with patients living with diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and COPD-related illnesses, asthma, mental health, prenatal, post partum care.

  1. Volunteer in the community at large

By providing care for athletes in national, international and community organizations and sporting events such as varsity sports games for the University of New Brunswick, hockey games, Canada Summer Games, and other opportunities like Doctors Without Borders.

  1. Reduce hospital rates of infection

Hospitals have care teams with PAs to reduce sepsis, central-line infections, and ICU pneumonias for example, and can reduce the time in-hospital of a patient.

  1. Build patient satisfaction

By reducing wait times and communicating with patients and their families, including educating them about their condition and how to maintain and improve health. A well-managed patient, whose needs and concerns have been addressed, is also a satisfied patient, and this improves quality and compliance.