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Personal alarm service launched

Natasha Beckles

Personal alarm service launched

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A NEW SERVICE has been launched which can assist elderly and other vulnerable Barbadians if they fall or become ill while they are at home alone.
For the past four months, the Barbados-headquartered Caribbean Telehealthcare Services (CTS) has been offering a personal alarm service similar to that which has been offered in the United States and Britain for more than two decades.
Director Angela Francis explained that the service was ideal for the increasing number of senior citizens who wanted to continue living independently.
The alarm unit, which has a loudspeaker, works using GSM mobile phone technology. The elderly person is provided with a button – worn on a pendant around the neck or the wrist – which they can press if they need assistance.
They will then be connected to the CTS Monitoring Centre, where medically trained staff will reassure them or call relatives or emergency assistance where necessary.
Francis, who worked with the Department of Health in Britain, explained that she and co-director and attorney at law Maxine Ayton said smoke, carbon monoxide and motion detectors could also be added to the system for added safety.
The motion detector would indicate whether the person failed to get up at the usual time or was trying to leave in the night.
“We also have a mobile phone with an emergency button that connects with the CTS Monitoring Centre if the user has an incident away from the home. We can also track their location using GPS technology,” Francis explained.
She noted that although there was a cost attached to the unit, it would save money in the long run since elderly people would not have to be placed in a facility prematurely.
She noted that the sooner a person received help after suffering a stroke, the better their chances of recovery.
Francis and Ayton said they plan to expand to Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and St Lucia, although the call centre would continue to be run from Barbados.