Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
New Brunswick • Somerset

Lifeline Adds New Services

September 27, 2010
After living alone for 13 years, Joan Stoner decided in August of 2005 to become a client of the Lifeline service offered through Somerset Medical Center.

After nearly five years of never having to use it, Stoner, 83, of Bridgewater, tripped in her home, fell and could not get up. She could sit up, but not stand up. She needed someone to help her, but lived alone and could not reach the telephone. Fortunately, she was wearing her Lifeline pendant, pressed the personal help button and less than a minute later, she spoke with the Lifeline Personal Response Associate who assured her that help was on the way. Within minutes, two policemen arrived to assist Stoner.

“I felt helpless on the ground,” she said. “I could not stand up. I have no relatives in the area and it was difficult for me to reach the phone. The Lifeline service provided me with a great sense of security. Before I knew it help had arrived and I was on my feet again.”

After that fall, Stoner upgraded her Lifeline service to include AutoAlert, a new service which provides an added layer of protection by automatically placing a call for help if a fall is detected and the client is unable to press the button on the Lifeline pendant. Lifeline is the only company that offers this pendant-style AutoAlert button, and studies have shown that it detects 95 percent of many types of falls with a low rate of false alarms. 

“A slow response to a fall can cause unnecessary suffering and further medical complications that could lead to a loss of independence,” said Kathi Bennett, Lifeline manager. “The goal of the Lifeline service is to help people maintain their independence by providing them (and their family) with peace of mind knowing that in an emergency help is close at hand.”

Somerset Medical Center’s Lifeline service also recently introduced several other new features: 
· Philips Lifeline Voice Extension, which is a secondary communicator designed for people who live in large or multi-story homes, giving them the ability to speak with the Philips Lifeline Response Center over a larger area of the home. 
· Philips Lifeline Cordless Phone Communicator, which integrates the medical alert service into an innovative cordless phone with large buttons, easy-to-read displays, and clearer sound including louder volume range making it easier for seniors to hear their conversations. It evens works during a power outage. As long as the phone service is working, the Lifeline Cordless Phone Communicator provides up to 30 hours of backup power for Help Calls and up to 1 hour of talk time during a power outage.
· Philips Medication Dispenser service, which enables seniors to maintain their medication schedule from convenient pre-filled dosage cups. This helps to reduce the risk of accidental over- or underdosing, reduce the risk of unnecessary hospitalizations related to incorrect medication use and maintain independence and peace of mind. 

Somerset Medical Center provides Lifeline service to more than 600 subscribers throughout Somerset County and in parts of Middlesex, Hunterdon and Union counties. In 2009, the Lifeline Program assisted with 535 incidents, 253 of which were the result of a fall. To date, 2,350 community members have been enrolled in the service. 

The Lifeline service enables clients to live active, independent lives, doing the many things they have enjoyed for years. Stoner continues the hobbies that she so enjoys: playing bridge, doing crosswords and reading. 

“Accidents are accidents, but unfortunately they can result in great immobility,” Stoner said. “I heartily endorse the Lifeline service. It is wonderful for both people who live alone and spend time alone.”

For more information about the Lifeline Program, call 908-704-0096, or visit somersetmedicalcenter.com.