If you like cute doggie pictures (or even if you don’t) editor Steve promises that you will love the one that accompanies the heart-warming telecare story, reported in the Telegraph and other UK papers. Mrs Shaw, the owner of Louis, a nine-year-old Yorkshire terrier, is registered with Wrexham Council’s Telecare service and had previously put one of her alarm buttons on the floor and had trained Louis to press it. Then she fell getting out of the shower and lost consciousness. ChesterCare Telecare operative Sarah Mcloughlin heard Louis’s barking when she asked Mrs Shaw if she was okay. Mrs Shaw said “She asked ‘who raised the alarm?’ and I said it must have been Louis. He must have thought ‘this is not a game, this is for real’, and hit the panic button. He was right beside me, right in my face – he wouldn’t leave me.”
There are two points here for the industry… First, it’s a reminder that pendant alarms are no use if the owner is unconscious or they are out of reach – ‘passive’ alternatives must be offered, and second, it is a fantastic 3ML publicity opportunity for the TSA if, for example, it came forward with a ‘Telecare Hero’ award for the dog.
This is a great story on several levels, so hats off to the dog, the owner for training her, and the Telecare provider managing the incident so well. We had a similar situation at Skyguard recently – one of our customers who suffers from regular blackouts fell unconscious and she had taught her 2 year old daughter to press the panic button if “Mummy fell asleep”. Her daughter promptly did this and raisied the alarm. Our Controllers spoke to her on a level she could understand and looking at her medical history immediately directed a paramedic there.
Steve makes a good point about passive alternatives; many providers (including ourselves) offer fall down alarms and ‘welfare check’ services, which will result in the same help to the user, albeit by a different methodology. Providers need to make sure they educate users in the limitations of the product, and offer suitable alternatives to mitigate these risks.