PUEBLO — Pueblo 911 dispatchers are dealing with short staffing and high call volume, but more help is on the way thanks to a new grant program.
The Home of Heroes Nurse Navigation Program allows callers with non-life threatening medical emergencies to be transferred to a nurse at a call center based in Dallas. The dispatch center hopes this will ease stress on their staff and provide better care for callers.
"If they're not having what we call a high acuity call, or severe call, but a low acuity call, like a cold or ear pain or knee pain, things like that, then we can transfer them to a nurse who can help them get connected to the right resources," said Pueblo Fire Chief Barbara Huber.
A representative for the program said most of the non-emergency calls come from uninsured callers that aren't connected with a doctor. Through the program nurses will follow up within 24 hours and help callers find a doctor for the future.
Kim Jeffries, the Pueblo dispatch manager, said the program will reduce fire rescue calls by about 10%, allowing first responders to focus on higher priority calls.
The Nurse Navigation Program will also ease the workload of 911 dispatchers who are facing staffing shortages.
"The job is stressful in itself, just the nature of the position. It's not uncommon for them to be forced an additional four to sometimes eight hours a day to cover this stuff in shortages," Jeffries said.
The program is a two-year pilot funded by a state grant from Colorado Homeland Security.
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