Help is the push of a button away. That’s peace of mind for many seniors, like Marcella Brzozowski of Hudson who is grateful for the Lifeline® program offered through Hudson Hospital & Clinic. The Lifeline unit, a two-way communication device for medical emergencies, allows Marcella to continue living independently knowing “You’re not alone and can get in contact with someone at the press of a button. It’s a lifesaver – they are out there and ready to help.”
Lifeline provides an emergency link to the outside world offering lifesaving health care services to people in Hudson and the surrounding communities. “This is a great program for seniors and their families,” says Lifeline Coordinator Kathy O’Brien “It gives them comfort to know their loved ones have immediate access to medical help.”
Since it’s inception in 1984, the Lifeline program allows senior citizens living independently immediate access to emergency medical services at Hudson Hospital & Clinic 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Funded by Hudson Hospital Foundation, the program services hundreds of families and usage is on the rise with nearly 30 incident calls received in 2010. For a nominal monthly fee, the home monitoring unit – a telephone attachment with a speaker – is placed in the home. Customers wear a button, either as a necklace, or a bracelet wristband. Pushing the button activates a telephone call monitored at the nurses’ station of the hospital. The activation also triggers a computer readout that identifies the subscriber’s name and address. “The beauty of the system is that the customer can talk to a nurse at the hospital. When the button is pushed, the system establishes two-way voice communication,” says O’Brien. If the customer is able to talk, he or she can communicate, even if they are some distance from the telephone. A nurse will calm the customer and assess the situation quickly to provide the appropriate response. Responses range from contacting a pre-determined neighbor or relative to notifying emergency services.
Lifeline users like Marcella rave about how it has been a lifesaver. She’s pressed for help several times over the last few years including this past autumn when she fell tending to her rhubarb garden. Unable to get up, weak from the fall and lying several feet from her house, she remembered to press the Lifeline button on her necklace. “I could immediately hear the nurse answering the call on the Lifeline unit in my home. I tried to yell from the garden, but the nurse couldn’t hear me.” The nurse immediately activated the emergency response system, contacting Marcella’s son – first on her list of contacts. Helping her back to the house, he contacted the Lifeline nurse, who recommended Marcella be checked at the emergency center for injuries and possible dehydration. “Even after I returned home, the nurse called me to check how I was doing,” says Marcella. It’s a comfort to know the Lifeline system works, she added. “They’re right on time, and you’re covered with a push of the button. You can talk to the nurse at anytime.” What’s more, the Lifeline necklace is made of durable material, Marcella points out. She’s fallen on it, worn it in the shower and even accidently put it through the washing machine – and it still worked. Once a month, Lifeline volunteers contact Marcella to be sure the device is in proper working condition. For more information about the Lifeline program, contact Kathy O’Brien at (715) 531-6019.
In addition to the Lifeline program, Hudson Hospital & Clinic offers Telecare services. This free service offered to seniors living independently or recovering from an illness provides a daily check-in phone call. Friendly volunteers are on staff to make health check-up calls, as well as offer a comforting voice to chat for awhile and listen to their thoughts or concerns. If the senior doesn’t answer, the same emergency response system as Lifeline, is activated to notify their emergency contact to check on the participant. For more information on Telecare, contact volunteer services at (715) 531-6070.
Hudson Hospital & Clinic is a non-profit health care provider located just off Interstate I-94 in Hudson, WI. The campus is designed with the latest technology and amenities to support whole health and healing for patients and their families - including a nationally acclaimed healing arts program. Twenty-five private hospital rooms feature private bath, garden views, guest accommodations and room service for patients and guests. Services include a regionally popular Birth Center, Rehabilitation Center, Imaging Center, cancer care, heart care, neurology, orthopaedics and more. Hudson Hospital & Clinic is a member of the HealthPartners family of care.