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Aurora 911 launches nurse navigation program

Medical personnel looks over medical files on a desktop computer
Irwan iwe

Aurora 911 recently launched a nurse navigation program to help residents avoid unnecessary and costly emergency or urgent care trips. The service will now redirect callers to licensed nurses to receive care.

The pilot nurse navigation program was gifted to Aurora 911 through a state grant program that connects it with a global medical response team.

“Historically, we can provide a patrol car, an ambulance, or a fire truck. Nurse Navigation is allowing us to really get to know the needs of each individual caller,” Aurora 911 Director Tina Buneta said to KUNC’s Nikole Robinson Carroll.

Buneta said the new service will help callers experiencing lesser-than-emergency medical issues save time and money and get them the care they need sooner.

Incoming calls won’t change much said Buneta. In the initial phase of a 911 call, the dispatcher will ask a series of questions and screen the caller against the city’s emergency medical dispatch protocol.

If the call is deemed non-emergency, then the call will be passed over to a licensed nurse in Colorado. From there, callers will be offered a variety of alternative resources.

“It might be self-care at home, perhaps a telehealth visit with a physician, or we can arrange for a doctor’s appointment or an urgent care facility visit,” Buneta said.

If the situation becomes an emergency at any time during the call, the nurse will transfer the call back to Aurora 911, and an ambulance will be deployed.

If no emergency is declared, the nurse will follow up with the caller the next day to check in with them, get feedback or arrange appointments.

Those experiencing issues with transportation will also get a Lyft ride dispatched by the nurse to bring callers to and from appointments or urgent care visits.

The services will come at no cost to the community or taxpayers because it is grant funded.

As a reporter and host for KUNC, I follow the local stories of the day while also guiding KUNC listeners through NPR's wider-scope coverage. It's an honor and a privilege to help our audience start their day informed and entertained.