Lifelines for Seniors

 

The Vancouver Firefighter Charities has committed $10,000 to the STAT (Short Term Assessment and Treatment) Centre at VGH which supports elderly patients before they are discharged home.

 

Select patients, based on financial and service need, will receive medical alert service and access to help 24/7, at the push of a button. The device, which is worn as a wristband or pendant, can also automatically detect a fall and trigger a call for help.

 

Vancouver Firefighters also donate their time to install the equipment in the homes of the seniors, helping to minimize costs and extend the service to more individuals.

 

This first-time collaboration between the firefighters, Philips Lifeline and the STAT Centre aims to provide the best care possible for seniors and peace of mind to family.

 


 

A firefighter's testimonial...

 

I think every firefighter has seen this type of scenario many times, but whenever it happens, I always feel a deep sadness: elderly people who have fallen in their homes, maybe broken a hip, maybe had a stroke or a heart attack, and can't reach a phone to call for help.

 

One particular call I went to involved a nice older lady who had gone into her crawlspace looking for Christmas decorations. While down there, she suffered an anxiety attack, became disoriented, and couldn't find her way back out in the darkened space. We found her three days later after her family went to check on her and then called 911. It took a team of firefighters with backboards and brute strength to manouver her in the extremely low (height) crawlspace, and then through a very small hatch to the main floor. 

 

The patient was dehydrated and suffered from extreme pain in her joints and muscles from lack of use, and possible loss of extremities from a prolonged lack of blood flow. Elderly people are very fragile, and what seems survivable for younger people often is not so for the elderly. Sadly, I never found out what her outcome was, but I always thought to myself, and still do...."Why didn't she have a lifeline?"

 

N. Gorseth

Vancouver FireFighter