We used an observational, ethnographic research approach to identify the nature of the relationship between public engagement and the successful integration of a community paramedicine program with local health, aged care and social services in rural Ontario. Data were collected through a combination of direct observations of practice, informal discussions, interviews and focus groups. We found evidence of public engagement during the planning and implementation stages of the program, with strong participatory processes evident. There was some evidence of a culture of inclusiveness, despite the strength of the command and control heritage in emergency health services. The community paramedicine model is well placed to facilitate greater integration between paramedic services and health, aged and social services. Public engagement incorporating both participation and inclusiveness can lead to a closer alignment and integration between paramedic services and other services. This ‘grass-roots’ approach to interacting with local communities has the potential to better integrate paramedic services as part of a less-fragmented system across the health, aged care and social service sectors.
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