Marybeth Van Horn, 67, a resident of Denver, Colorado and a nurse of 45 years, has both experienced and heard real-life stories of how health technology can save lives. Five years ago, she slipped on black ice in a parking lot, snapping her femur while mid-air. When she hit the pavement, her wrist broke and her lumbar and cervical vertebra shifted, leaving her on the ground in pain. The incident would leave her hospitalized for a month, and bedridden for three more months. At that time, she did not have Electronic Caregiver’s Premier system or she could have immediately called for emergency help.
“It took time for someone to see me on the ground, to call for help, to determine my location for the (emergency medical services),” Van Horn said. “Had I had Electronic Caregiver’s help at the touch of a button, I would have saved a significant amount of morbidity from hemorrhage, pain and shock. I would have been geo-positioned. That means I would have had coordinates on me that would have pinpointed my location immediately. I would have been able to talk to our response team until help arrived.”
Now Van Horn is both a client of, and independent Master Care Partner for, Electronic Caregiver®, a New Mexico-based virtual care and health technology company. She uses the Premier to protect herself while making Electronic Caregiver’s technology available to others.The ECG Premier system is a 24/7 mobile security and care support system offering emergency response, care plan reminders, activity monitoring, geolocation and pocketMD telehealth.
Since subscribing to the Premier in 2017, Van Horn has had to use her device several times. Once was in early March, when the coronavirus pandemic was beginning to escalate. She used pocketMD telehealth to connect with a licensed physician after experiencing chest pain, chills and sweats.
“I wasn’t sure what to think of the chest pain because coronavirus has that as one of the symptoms. So, I talked to pocketMD first and (the doctor) said, ‘I think you should always go to the emergency room when you have chest pain,’” she said.
The physician on the line spoke with Van Horn in-depth about her symptoms and instructed her to visit a hospital.
“They did check me for coronavirus and I did not have it,” she said. “They did a thorough workup of my chest pain and tested me for other viruses as well. I think because of (pocketMD), I ended up having better care because (the doctor) advised I go to the actual hospital, not an urgent care. They admitted me for tests and did a thorough job. And so now I feel much more confident that I don’t have anything wrong with my heart, and no coronavirus.”
Van Horn said she has heard several stories from clients who have used the Premier to get medical assistance. She’s been a Master Care Partner with Electronic Caregiver for about two and a half years. Her passion to now protect others takes her into a variety of living situations with the young and old alike.
Once, while cleaning, an 87-year-old client, living independently at home, tripped over her vacuum and fell onto her oak dining room table, resulting in a fractured hip and ribs. The client pushed the medical concern button on her Premier to connect with emergency services.
“Our responders had access to her profile, and already knew what medications she was on,” Van Horn said. “They also knew the code to her lockbox. Therefore, paramedics could enter without breaking the door down. They knew exactly which room she was in and they knew her special requests for emergency care, including her preferred hospital. Each of these factors saved precious moments which expedited her recovery.”
Biometrics & Support
Along with the Premier, Electronic Caregiver also offers the Pro Health system. This system is a 24/7 chronic care and remote patient monitoring system. It features vitals monitoring, emergency response, medication reminders and pocketMD telehealth. This information is recorded via the Pro Health and can be sent to a designated provider. It is ideal for clients living with one or more chronic illness.
Dr. J. Roberto Duran of the Southwest Center on Aging in Las Cruces, New Mexico, relies on the Pro Health to help monitor patients in between visits. “Most of my patients being older adults – 65 and older – most of them have a lot of chronic medical conditions, including diabetes, hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure,” Duran said. “So, having a system that allows me to review some of the numbers regarding blood pressure measurements, glucose levels, and more, gives me an extra tool to really keep (patients) better controlled and be able to monitor them on a daily basis.” This is simply more indication that health technology can save lives.
“We don’t want to be going in to see our health providers for our day-to-day needs and vital signs. The Pro Health can take those vitals with results immediately. Both patients and doctors receive the results. Their medical professionals can review the data,” she said.
Smart home technology is often a simple, set-it-and-forget-it solution for families with aging loved ones. These systems allow for your loved one to remain safe and secure in their own homes, even with mobility impairments.
Many loved ones develop physical and visual impairments that make day-to-day living difficult and sometimes even dangerous. Because of this, older adults who choose to age in place may need to make modifications to their homes to live safely and comfortably.
Born from the advances of GPS technology geotrackers are simple, cost-effective, undetectable ways of monitoring your loved one from a distance, allowing them to live as independently as possible while still under the guidance of a watchful eye.