Did E Community and E.H.R. Save the Day?

This
story occurred this weekend and is a fantastic example of the importance of E
Community and Electronic Health Records. Friday my friend S’s grandfather
went missing. He does not have Alzheimer’s, but he does suffer from memory loss
that up to this point had been managed. Upon realizing he was missing, his
family took standard action – they called family, friends and the police.

S’s
family un-standard action was to notify her grandfather’s credit card companies
of the situation and TO KEEP THE ACCOUNTS OPEN so activity, and her
grandfather, was tracked via the electronic network as close to real time as
possible. Additionally, S emailed her contacts and posted to her e
journal updates, contact information and flyers. This allowed the E Community
members who wanted to help to do so in their respective geographic location,
including spreading the word to everyone they
know. It also gave S an additional layer of emotional support.

S’s
grandfather was found alive and well, 150 miles from home, early Sunday morning,
in a small town church parking lot. The two certain factors of a policeman
finding him are the Be On the Look Out notice for her grandfather’s car in the
law enforcement E Community and his Medic alert bracelet listing his name and
emergency contact information, our current form of portable electronic medical
records. These links helped the policeman figure out the situation and get in
touch with Suzanne’s family.

I am
posting from S’s e-journal because of the value of the specific
information and to show a real life example of how powerful e-communities are.
Imagine the same format for a family who has just received a cancer diagnosis and
needs help. The reach of the request and the opportunity to respond is incredible,
both for individuals and the expert organizations in the related field. Plus,
the dialog initiated shares information and support.

Regarding
electronic health records; luckily, her grandfather did not require immediate
medical care. The Medic bracelet’s value is obvious here; extrapolate that out
to cover all situations where a person does not have their full mental
capabilities. A portable e-record with basic identification and health
information that is accessible to all health care providers will save much
time, lots of money and many lives. It’s a logical place to start.

From
S’s e-journal: Lessons
Learned

* If this happens to a friend or family member, be proactive, be tenacious,
don’t trust that the police to take care of everything, especially if it
happens on a weekend. Had my family not been so persistent, there is a good
chance the alert may not have gone out until Monday.

* Having clear and recent photographs of anyone, senior citizen or not, is a
good idea. Keep a picture of their car as well.

* Notifying the credit card companies of the situation (but leaving the
accounts active) and/or using online banking or credit card services to keep
track of any transactions can really help in following someone’s trail.

* If you have a family member with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or any condition that
could cause this sort of situation, it is essential you have written
documentation of their diagnosis from a doctor on hand. Without that, the
police were unwilling/unable to do a Mattie’s Call that might have helped him
to be found earlier. Also, we were told by a few officers that, without that
documentation, they had to assume he had left voluntarily and was operating
under his own free will… meaning that he was at the bottom of the priority
list, and that even if he was sighted, if he said he was ok and acted ok when
questioned, they could not prevent him from leaving again.

* Medic alert jewelry for someone with these conditions is a great idea… it’s
easy for someone who is confused to drop or misplace their wallet.

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