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Medical Alert System

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by Tamara Gamble, May 6, 2007.

  1. Tamara Gamble

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    Okay, this weekend has been a nightmare. My mother who has multiple handicaps layed on the floor for eight hours unconcious in sever anaphylaxis from her meds. Lucky, Lucky, Lucky to be alive. Swollen beyond recognition, 911 called, emergency transport, time spent in the hospital two days to stabelize.

    Without drawing the story out to much, one of the many things we want to implement is a medical alert monitoring system. As I am checking these things out, I start wondering if it would be a system that I should put into my home for when we are not there as added security for Ty.

    If he gets into trouble one button push, and all parties are contacted with help on the way. He can push and they can ask if he needs help and as he drinks his juice (hopefully) he can say, I am low. They would have instructions on protocol. If he doesn't respond they will send help. What do you think? Over kill or peace of mind for us and him.

    I notice that he checks his sugar alot more when we are not there. I think he worries something will go wrong and he will be alone. He also wants to be left alone and is certainly old enough. I think this may help him with his conflicting feelings about the situation and let him relax a little and enjoy some freedom. For thirty bucks a month, I'm certainly not opposed.

    Talk to me people. What is your experience. Do you have a loved one with a system. Which one is the best and why. What do you think the pro's and con's would be. I haven't talked to him about this yet. I kind of wanted to bounce it off of you first.

    Thank you so much, I look forward to your input.

    Tami
     
  2. Beach bum

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    I know I wouldn't invest in one now as my child is only 5 and isn't left alone. Here is one thing to think about...
    My 90 year old grandfather has one of these. He went to take a shower, took it off and put it on his dresser (there was a pull cord in the bathroom). He had a medical emergency between the bathroom door and his dresser, where the necklace was. He laid on the floor, unable to move for 3 hrs. Luckily, my mom got concerned when he didn't answer his phone, called the nurse of the al facility and they sent an ambulance. So, in this situation, it was useless.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's a nice feature, but may not always be available to you for one reason or another. Would your child want to wear one of these in addition to a bracelet and pump?
     
  3. Tamara Gamble

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    Most of the units are waterproof so they should be left on in the shower. I know that some are not though. You may want to look into another system for your father that is. I know that they are not fool proof though. But I think they are still something to think about.

    Tyler would not be wearing a bracelet at home, nor would he be wearing the button any time other than when we are not there so I don't think I am over burdening him.

    I am actually looking for something to bring all of us piece of mind. We live in a very rural area so it's not like I'm talking five minutes away. Could be thirty minutes away at the grocery store.

    We do have a neighbor that is great but I'm worried if he starts to go low because he doesn't recognize them until he's in the fourties that he won't remember the number or someone may have called in canceling that redial feature.

    I feel like hitting a button while drinking his juice and having a company put out all of the calls for him would make him feel better as well as us. I don't want him to not be able to have some additional freedom from time to time because he is getting older and it just reminds him of something he can't do under certain circumstances. I notice that he wants to have that alone time but he gets anxious. He checks and checks and checks. I'd like for him to relax a little and feel good about his freedom.

    It's hard when they get older Abby. The rules change. From ten until now things have come full circle. It's difficult to keep him safe and allow him to just be sometimes.

    He will be thirteen soon and I need to allow him to enjoy some of that teenage freedom. I remember when I was left alone at home it was the best! I am uneasy when I leave him, but I have to ask myself which is the lesser of the two evils. I want him to be well rounded and have some confidence in the fact that we have put everything we can out there for him. Say a little prayer and go on.

    This is certainly not the biggest decision we will ever make and we will not make it without talking to him first. It's just hard to know how to handle certain things sometimes.

    I thank you for your input. I agree it's not a perfect solution but a possibility.

    Tami
     
  4. Rachel

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    How about a cell phone so he could call you - or another adult that supports his care - on speed dial? He could wear it on him when home alone, out in the yard, or out and about in the wider world. There are family plans now where you can get a set of phones for the whole family and all of the minutes between the family are free.

    That gives you and him the communication tool without the added layer of the medic alert team. (For me, the medica alert piece would be just one more thing to set up, keep track of, manage etc. )

    So sorry to hear about your mother. What a horrible experience. Sounds like you are really on top of getting a plan to support her. My heart goes out to you ... I know what a challenge it is to be tending to parents with health issues AND a child with diabetes. Hang in there.
     
  5. Mama2H

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    This is definatly something to think about Tami! If you live in a rural area like we do I would assume that you do not have cell phone service? We have to go 10 miles out of town to get any cell phone service in our itty bitty rural area and I have to drive 30 miles to the grocery store in the city. I don't know if this would owrk for Hailey, I will consider it though when we get a bit closer to allowing her to stay home alone. Could you try it and if it doesn't seem to help then disconnect it?
     
  6. selketine

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    Tami - I'm so sorry about your mom - I hope she is on the upswing- that is very scary.

    My MIL has Life Alert and it is a fine system but it does have it's odd moments. You have to check in to make sure it is working - or something. Anyhow she is always screwing it up some way or another - but perhaps due to her difficulty with technology more than anything else.

    As you well know, I would love to have William outfitted with chips, GPS systems, electrodes, or whatever it took to keep him safe - goodness knows I'd do it! With that in mind my first thought was "I've fallen and I can't get up!" - remember that old commercial? Maybe kids today don't know it but if they did I can imagine him being teased over his alert necklace. Of course the point of the whole thing is that he would be alone so I guess no one would know but his family.

    How does he feel about it? Does he want it? If it would make him feel safe and he would use it then why not? If it doesn't work out is it expensive to quit the service (like a big upfront cost you cannot get back?). I think he has to want it and want to use it, otherwise it would be useless.

    Would a CGMS out of pocket (or through your insurance if they cover it) be a lot more expensive? That would give him alerts on his BG and of course be useful at school, etc. Seems like if you get it working right then it must be a great peace of mind - you can get it figured out when to alert you to big drops and low bgl, etc. That is a whole 'nother thing though.
     
  7. sparkyjt

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    How does the Medical Alert system work? Is the button attached to you? How do you prevent it from getting bumped and calling when there's no emergency?
     
  8. selketine

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    I think if the button is pushed they try to communicate with you in some fashion - either by phone or through the device. If they cannot reach you then they send in the troops. ( It is something like the way a home security system works. If it gets tripped they try to reach someone at the house and then they'll send the cops.)

    I think my MIL has one that is a necklace.
     
  9. Budapest

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    What about a CGM to ease his worries while alone?

    Although it doesn't help once someone is in trouble already, the nice predictive alarm on the new Guardian can help prevent an emergency while the patient is still able to take action.

    We just started our second sensor after 9 days on the first and reduced the FP tests by 50% to 6-7 a day. We love it.
     
  10. Tamara Gamble

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    Sorry I haven't responded today, working on my moms stuff.

    It's just a button that you push. Either a wrist band, a necklace or a belt clip. It would only be for when he is alone at home, no other time. The system I am looking at for my mom tests once a day, their monitoring staff takes care of this. I have read where companies only test once a month and it really is not adequate to make sure the units are working properly consistantly. This may be the case with life alert. I don't know. But Carol based on what I have read this would not be the company that I chose. I can't recall why it's been a long couple of days. When we get my mom set up I will let you know who we chose and why and let you know about the service.

    There's nothing worse than a false sense of security. The waterproof thing is an issue to. For someone who is not so stable in the shower they need to be able to keep it on them. There is no up front purchase cost and everything is replaced at no extra charge, no questions asked. There is no contract unless you prebuy for the year to get it cheaper. Otherwise it's month to month. Money back gaurantee.

    If they push the button the monitoring company speaks to them through the unit which ranges about 150 yards depending on the company. If there is no response they call 911, issue a lock box number (so your door doesn't get beaten down in error) call everyone on the call list to let you know there is a problem. They will also keep your allergies on file and a list of doctors and prefered hospital and medical conditions. Also they will keep a note on file as to where to locate a binder or page of information in the house with meds doses etc. so that ems can grab it and go.

    I haven't talked to Ty about it yet. It was just a thought. We do have cell phone connectivity here so that would work in most places. Unfortunately, nine times out of ten it is not in my house. Which really irks me by the way. I am still considering this one.

    I think a CGM system would be great. I'm trying to wait for the navigator to come out because of how accurate it is supposed to be. I need to think about this one. I also would like one that would work best with our pump when they upgrade things so I've been holding out because we use the Cozmo system. I think if I worked hard enough I could get it paid for with no out of pocket.

    Everything that my mother and step father told me they couldn't get paid for by the insurance I am in the process of getting secured. I used to be a biller so this helps.

    As far as my mom: I've been able to get her doctor to set up partime in home health care for some daily needs and for after her up and coming surgery, in home physical therapy as well as blood draws etc to save some trips to the doc.

    She should not be on the road. This is a challenge. Many times she has five appointments a week. I have the community center doing rides for the most part it's ten bucks a pop but she would have spent this in gas anyway so money well spent. I live two hours away so it's not really feasable for me to take care of this. The community center will give her free rides for groceries, and errands within her community so this was a bonus.

    By tomorrow we will have selected the system we are going to try for monitoring system. We have a friend who spends an hour or two a day with her so this will help. My sister and I will take turns with house work every other week and we are securing a food program that will actually cost them less than if they had to cook for themselves so no more trying to get dinner on.

    It's not perfect but it's a far far cry from where we were. I have to say that I am really disturbed by my step father's attitude. It is taking all of the patience I can muster. There is always an objection to everything. With the monitoring system he initially said no, they'll break down my door. I said we will pay for the system, replace and install the door. Not good enough.Then I thought of the lock box so he is now on board. I don't get him at all. He wants all of the services but he wants my sister and I to do it ourselves. Not possible. He's gone 12-14 hours a day. We live far away and just can't do it.

    I am so frustrated with him because he won't do anything to help her. He was annoyed that he had to leave work and go to the hospital for what he said must have been a spider bite. The doc set him straight though so at least we didn't have to. You could not even recogize her from all of the swelling and he acted like this was a crying wolf situation. I'm floored. She could have died. She should have. Big shout out to the guy upstairs.

    I know that I am whining but I can't say much to anyone else because they may go off on him. I'm trying to work at his level and get the job done and keep the family cohesive. This is not the time to turn on each other. He may deserve it but if he's not on board it would take a court order. My mother would be heartbroken.

    You guys have given me alot of food for thought. Thank you so much.

    Tami
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2007
  11. Rachel

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    Tami,
    My heart just goes out to you. I know too well what it is like to manage the details of elders's care - and with the complexities of step-family and other relatives. And all the emotional tending that comes with it. For us, over the past few years it has gone in waves of high intensity to times of calm. Sounds like you are in the "march-on" phase where you just have to keep going with all the details and logistics and keep calm for everyone else.

    Once things settled down for us a bit last summer, I remember feeling like there was an octopus with loosely tied shoes hanging over my head (ok, so not literally, of course). It wasn't that I was waiting for a shoe to drop ... but wondering which of the eight might drop next. :rolleyes:

    Hang in there. The calm phases will come again. It really sounds like you have a great plan for your mom.
     
  12. cydnimom

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    Tami,

    So sorry to hear of all your troubles and I hope things smooth out for you soon.

    I just wanted to say about the "button" is that if I'm that low that I cannot figure out that I need sugar our I can't move well enough to get up to get the sugar then my blood sugar is too low to speak coherently -- I don't know that I would be able to figure out to push that darn button. Your brain really does not function well if you drop low enough to need assistance. Its main concern is to make sure the autonomic functions continue working.

    It sounds like a huge expense for something I'm not sure would help. If I was going to spend that kind of money my money would go towards the CGMS.

    Just my thoughts,
     
  13. Mariel's Mom

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    They save lives and more

    I worked for a company called Lifeline for over 11 years. As I was in product development I am well aware of many of the the products on the market that do this. I no longer work for them as I moved to North Carolina - but they are the only company I would recommend for personal response service - My mother has one.

    The systems involve more than just the equipment in the house - you also want to make sure that the monitoring center and the service support structures are top knotch.

    I would recommend Lifeline (Now Lifeline Philips) because of the following reasons

    They are the industry leader with a network of over 2400 providers based out of hospital or home care settings.

    They created the industry in the 70s with a focus on "people" monitoring vs property security companies that have decided to get into the personal response business - (taking security calls is very different than personal medical emergency calls)

    They are a stable, publicly held with strong financial reports. They constantly invest in improvement, new products and innovation. (Not all companies are financially solvent.

    Plus They have a great product called the "Reminderphone" that not only allows the user to be connected to help at the press of a button, it also can be easily programmed with personal reminders for medications or to check blood sugars - anything. And since it looks like a regular telephone, the person using it will not feel awkward about having it.

    You just need to call 1-800-LIFELINE and they can find a local provider near you.

    I can give you a lot of information on this subject as well as some ideas to help you convince your loved one in getting one. Feel free to e-mail me.

    I believe very strongly in these products - I have seen first hand how they save lives and enhance the everyday life of people by helping them feel more safe and secure.
     
  14. Tamara Gamble

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    Hi Lisa, this is actually the system I was wanting to get and I have all of the information but thanks. Today I had someone talk to me about another system called healthcheck with medic alert I think, I would have to look at my notes. It's actually a little more than life line and may be over kill. You actually get a medical Id bracelet with a code, they put it into the system and everything comes up. Docs, hosp, allergies, meds all of it.

    The one thing that I don't like about lifeline is that they only run a monthly test. I don't understand why it is not daily like the other one. I have to say that I am going back and forth between the two and can't make up my mind.

    I do have a question though. Does the monitor know when the battery on the pendant is low and that sort of thing?

    Thanks.

    Tami
     
  15. Mariel's Mom

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    Lifeline units run many checks daily to verify phone line, AC power and battery. The units remind users to check in monthly as the best check is one initiated by the actual user. Other companies rely on just a system check done by the communicator once a month which is not subscriber initiated. Lifeline ensures that people that have not initiated a test are followed up with to make sure they do. The daily check that other companies talk about are only system checks - lifeline does those too.
    LIfeline's monthly check refers to getting the subscriber to actively test the unit. Not all companies do this as it is costly.

    The monitors indeed know if any batteries are low either in the button or the unit.

    Whatever choice you make - having a system like this is better than not having one.
     
  16. selketine

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    Whatever it is my MIL has I think it has some sort of electronic check-in every day. If she misses that then they call or come over or something. Now how she gets that timed so that she isn't out on an errand or something I'm not sure. At one time I think it was waking her up at night too. Of course if anyone could screw up a technological device it would be my MIL. :p
     
  17. Tamara Gamble

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    We went with Lifeline just so you know. They came out yesterday and installed the system.

    I have to laugh Carol because my husband always says, the problem usually is between the user of the computer and the key board, not the computer itself. Do you think he's making fun of me? LOL!

    Tami
     
  18. Mariel's Mom

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    She is probably talking about the inactivity timer. It's a extra safety feature that will go off every 12 or 24 hours if the unit is not reset regularly. Most people keep this timer off as it is not necessary for 95% of users. It is for very frail people who have no one to check on them on a daily basis. It will be defaulted to off unless requested.
     
  19. selketine

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    Lisa - that is it. She probably should have it on but we do check on her at least every 24 hours. She had it set up that way - it seems she has gotten used to the system at this point. On a side note the woman who is their sales rep here (at a HUGE retirement community) is DEATHLY afraid of cats. She won't even come in the door if the cat is not put up. It is not due to allergies. She seems like nut case with some of the things she's done when trying to meet up with my MIL. I don't know how this woman makes it through her day.

    Tami - you will have to update us on how this system works out for everyone after you've used it awhile. I think if it give Tyler peace of mind and help in an emergency it is a great idea.
     
  20. Tamara Gamble

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    Carol, I will let you know. Your MIL I think may have a different system though. I know that the American Red Cross came out to set the system up. I think if it is the same system, they could send someone out other than who they are sending your MIL. My mom was thrilled with the set up service. Alot of companies just mail the system and you set it up yourself and contact them by phone. The guy who came out went all over the house and all over the yard to see how far reaching the system is for my mom. She was really excited and my step dad is somehow thrilled now. I don't know if he is just having issues dealing with everything and has come around or what but he was notable excited. I haven't given much more thought to this unit for Ty because I have been swamped with things this week. I hope you have a wonderful mothers day and please update us on William and the findings.

    God Bless!

    Tami
     

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