Russellville Fire Department works with hospital to care for COVID-19 patients at home

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Russellville fire Department is adapting to the times by monitoring positive COVID-19 patients inside their homes.

“It’s just a proactive program designed to meet the needs of the community,” Fire Marshal Richard Setian said.

The Russellville Fire Department is teaming up with St. Mary’s Regional Health to check in on patients who tested positive for COVID-19.

“We already have great relationship with the local hospital, and they were on board as soon as they discussed it,” Setian said.

The program is called the Community Care Response Unit. Setian said a nurse practitioner and paramedic will go in as a team to help these patients.

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“So, we actually have a specialized support vehicle from the fire department that’s staffed with these two folks,” he said.

The CCRU team will enter the patient’s home with full PPE.

“They provide a screening, which includes blood pressure, O2 saturation, lung sounds and temperature,” Setian said.

These evaluations are an effort to identify the need for hospitalization quicker before symptoms become too severe.

“We’re hoping to reduce the exposure and of course in the end increase survival,” Setian said.

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He said CCRU teams are being utilized in Germany right now and it is showing increased survivability rates from the virus.

“Our fire chief had seen that and he thought maybe this was something we can try in this community,” Setian said.

Those in Russellville or Pope County who test positive and want to participate in the program should contact their physician or they can call the Family Practice Clinic at 479-967-7717.