PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Officials at The Aroostook Medical Center say a change in an emergency protection service it offers to clients not only will provide subscribers with new equipment but also will expand the program to serve 11 additional Maine counties, thereby at least tripling its client base.
Officials at the Presque Isle hospital announced earlier this week they would replace TAMC’s Lifeline service with a new system called LiveSAFE Response Service. Like Lifeline, LiveSAFE provides a one-button system in a subscriber’s home that ensures a quick response to any emergency.
Operators for the service are available 24 hours a day, year-round, to provide assistance.
Judy Hennessey, TAMC’s LiveSAFE manager, said it was decided to embrace LiveSAFE in order for the hospital to continue to monitor its patients from a local call center based at the hospital. To accommodate the additional clients expected to enroll in LiveSAFE, the call center has been moved from near the main entrance of the A.R. Gould Memorial Hospital to a more spacious spot adjacent to the facility’s Pinkham entrance.
“TAMC has been providing personal emergency response services to the people of Aroostook County for more than 30 years,” said Hennessey. “Our goal has always been to give our clients and their families peace of mind, and to help them safely stay in their home at an affordable price. We look forward to serving a larger client base with new equipment, all the while continuing to provide that peace of mind those who rely on our services have come to count on.”
Under the former emergency response service and before the transition, TAMC served nearly 600 clients locally. Approximately 900 additional clients across northern, eastern and central Maine will be added before the end of November, bringing the new total to around 1,500.
As a result, TAMC has hired more operators to handle the increase in call volume. One full-time employee and one part-time employee have been added to the LiveSAFE emergency call response team.
At the same time, work is nearing completion on replacing the Philips Lifeline monitoring and personal emergency response equipment used under the Lifeline brand with similar devices from American Medical Alert Corp. The new state-of-the-art equipment and monitoring services are being installed in client homes at no cost and with no increase to the monthly rate.
Hennessey said Friday the hospital had to make an initial investment and hire and train new staff, but officials expect to earn that money back through the increase in client load.
Kelly Tuttle, TAMC LiveSAFE operator, said that clients should not notice a difference in coverage.
“TAMC LiveSAFE Emergency Response Service is still run by the same staff that you know and trust to help keep you safe,” Tuttle said. “When a client pushes their button, their calls will still be answered by staff at TAMC. The updated equipment clients are receiving is simply an upgrade TAMC is providing for their clients.”
Individuals subscribing to LiveSAFE are able to push a small button that is worn either around the wrist or as a necklace, which will activate a call to the response center at TAMC. The response center will respond to the client on the speaker system built into the receiver located in the home and will contact a family member, a friend, an ambulance, or police as directed by the client. If no response comes from the client, the response center automatically will call emergency contacts.
LiveSAFE is not just for medical emergencies. The service is ideal for a variety of people including seniors, adults and children with disabilities, and those with short-term needs.
Beside medical attention, some use LiveSAFE to summon help if they are alarmed about strange or disturbing noises, trespassers intruding, or if they are nervous and need someone to talk to. Clients can use LiveSAFE to contact their home health provider, doctor and family members. Clients can answer a ringing phone by simply pressing their button, thus preventing a potential fall.
Hennessey said crews are more than halfway through the transition to LiveSAFE and the installation of new equipment, which could be finished by the end of the month.
Existing clients with questions or concerns and individuals interested in learning more about TAMC’s LiveSAFE emergency response system are encouraged to call 768-4259 or visit www.tamc.org.