Special to LLAF
The Senior Advocacy Group of Ahwatukee has developed an online tool – especially helpful for elderly people – to ensure that first responders know the medical history of an individual when they make an emergency call.
Oftentimes, the difference between life and death and/or preventing unnecessary hospitalization can be made by providing important health and contact information to police and fire departments in the event of a medical emergency in the home.
SAGA’s free online tool, called MedStats, is a variation of the refrigerator stickers that it has made available for several years so that such information can be prominently seen by first responders.
“When an older adult has a health crisis in the home, every second is critical. MedStats allows for important I.C.E. (in case of emergency) information to be quickly accessed by first responders to produce better patient outcomes,” notes SAGA board chair Vicki McAllister.
SAGA is a nonprofit comprised of local businesses and volunteers organized to assist seniors, caregivers and families through education, resources and advocacy.
MedStats was first developed by the organization in 2012 when the group learned that emergency personnel often couldn’t locate medical and other data when responding to calls. The innovative tool, which was originally provided in a packet format, has been used by over 3,800 families and is now available at sagaseniors.org.
Derrick Johnson, a SAGA board member and a first responder in Ahwatukee, consulted with the organization to assist in developing the criteria for MedStats.
“When emergency personnel respond to a call, every second counts,” he says. “When they can’t find information on a patient’s health history, medication usage, the name of a physician or emergency contact info, time is wasted. Having this data aids first responders in quickly assessing and properly treating a patient and can also prevent a trip to the hospital.”
MedStats consists of documents in PDF format which older adults and their families can securely complete online. The forms can then be saved, printed and stored in an easily accessible location in the home.
The online tool includes agency links to medical power of attorney and other directives to provide legal medical decisions on behalf of the individual if they are not able to do so at the time of an emergency. The cost of the program is paid for through donations.
In addition to MedStats, SAGA hosts free annual community events and quarterly education programs and provides information on local resources for older adults, families and caregivers. The growing nonprofit also recently added outreach to seniors who may feel lonely or isolated.
“In 2017, we were contacted by individuals concerned about seniors in their neighborhoods. Last summer, we began an Older Adult Ministry to provide home visits to seniors and have been training volunteers to assist with implementing the program,” McAlister says.
In February 2019, SAGA will be hosting its fifth annual Senior & Family Conference at the Ahwatukee Recreation Center. The theme for the 2018 event is “Successful Aging: Living a Fun and Exciting Life” and will feature interactive presentations on topics related to aging, plus vendors, food and giveaways. The event is free to the public.
SAGA was founded in 2011 to serve the senior population in Ahwatukee.
“About a third of our residents are age 55 or over, according to the Ahwatukee Board of Management, and that number is growing. There are many programs available, but seniors and their families often don’t know where to look to find assistance. That’s where SAGA comes in. We are here to help,” McAlister says.
The Senior Advocacy Group of Ahwatukee is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) comprised of area business leaders, agencies, civic organizations and individual members organized to provide needed resources, education and advocacy for seniors, their adult children and caregivers.
To learn more about the Senior Advocacy Group of Ahwatukee, MedStats, or to donate or become a member, visit sagaseniors.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.