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Focus Group Participant, Low Acuity Project: Re-examining the Service Delivery Model of Care for Non-life Threatening 911 Requests for an Ambulance

Posted • Last updated


Commitment: Short-term

Connection methods: Virtual, In-person

Open to Provincial Region

Last updated

Volunteer Opportunity
Did you know that 50% of the calls to 911 for an ambulance in BC are not for life-threatening emergencies like accidents or heart attacks? This alone was 300,000 calls last year. BC Emergency Health Services would like to invite you to participate in a focus group session to gather your input as they examine several options to improve both the patient experience and ensure the best clinical outcomes for non-life threatening calls to 911.

Open to volunteers from:
We are hoping to talk with urban dwelling patient partners from around  the province.  For those in the lower mainland cities  we are hoping  for “in person”  participation.   For patient partners from other parts of the province, participation will be through a zoom meeting.


Lead Organization/Department:
BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS)

BCEHS would like patient partners to participate in a focus group to review several scenarios that are being piloted to more effectively respond to patients that have non-life-threatening needs but call 911 for assistance. The focus group discussion will help BCEHS better understand expectations about contact with health care providers, methods of transportation to a health care location(s) and suggestions for public education about 911 responses.

Level of Engagement:
This opportunity is at the level of consult on the spectrum of engagement ( The promise to you is that the health care partner will listen to and acknowledge your ideas and concerns, and provide feedback on how your input affected the decision.

• Open to patient partners who:
• Have experience of calling 911 (either directly or as a family member/caregiver) to receive non-life threatening health care (not a bad car accident, heart attack)  within the last 5 years
• Are comfortable discussing health care scenario’s in a small group environment
• If participating remotely, have access to a computer and the internet to join a Zoom virtual meeting
• Previous participation in a focus group is an asset
• All current Covid protocols will be observed for in person participation: Social distancing will continue.

If you have a strong interest in this work but have not yet completed a PVN orientation and Patient Partner Commitments, are unsure if your experience is a good fit or feel another format of engagement would work better with your availability, please contact Cassy Mitchell

• Number of vacancies: 12
• Date and Time: 3 separate Focus Group sessions will be scheduled in April 2022 – date and time to be determined (although each session will last 1-1.5hrs).  Sessions will be recorded for thematic analysis.
• Location: 2 focus group sessions will take place in person in the the Lower Mainland (4 patient partners in each group).  The third focus group is for patient partners in other parts of the province who will participate through Zoom.
• Commitment: One time: Patient partners need only attend one focus group session.

No out of pocket expenses are anticipated for participating virtually in this engagement opportunity. However, if you meet the eligibility criteria, but have concerns about your ability to participate, please contact Cassy Mitchell to see if support options are available. We are always seeking to better understand and reduce barriers to participation.

For attendance at an in-person focus group session, reimbursement of travel expenses will be provided up to a maximum of $40.

In the last decade, health care has changed remarkedly. In BC, access to physicians has declined, Emergency Departments are overflowing, and the pandemic has taught many of us to use phones and computers to seek health care advice.

BCEHS would like your help to look at several options that are currently being tested to better meet the needs of the >50 % of patients and their families who are calling 911 seeking “health care help” for non-life threatening situations. It is our belief that if this group of patients were better managed, the entire system and the patients and their families would benefit.

We would like to explore with you a care delivery model project called the Low Acuity Project. We are considering changing the options for paramedic response in a number of ways:

Starting right from the time you first talk to the ambulance call taker, the assessment process is being re-examined, the number of paramedics and type of vehicles is being re-examined, and where we can convey patients for treatment is also under review. The emphasis of all projects is that an accurate health care assessment, and timely connection to the right treatment should equal the right patient experience.

Change is necessary for our health care system to meet everyone’s needs. Please help us understand how you would react to these new ways of doing things and suggest how else we could help your community. We are hoping by revising the way we do business and examining the role of a paramedic we can better meet pre-hospital care needs.

We realize that calls to the ambulance service are often really bad days. BCEHS is aware that sharing experiences related to calling an ambulance can be challenging and triggering. Please know that if at any time you are feeling uncomfortable you can take a break or leave the meetings.

Health Care Partner Contact Information

Cassy Mitchell Engagement Leader, Patient and Public Engagement 250.279.0717

From Our Community

Layton Engwer

Patient Partner, Sooke

Layton Engwer

PVN helped empower me to make meaningful contributions to Primary Care (PC) locally and provincially.  It also facilitated creation of PC Patient Voices which is focused on PC and provides education support and building on shared experiences.