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Lifeline helps seniors stay independent

Lifeline helps seniors stay independent

It wasn’t that long ago that Mary Ann Stuckey found herself lying on the floor at her home after falling. Fortunately for her, she didn’t have to wait long for help to arrive. As a subscriber to Campbell County Health’s Lifeline service available from Home Health, she was able to get help quickly with just a push of a button.

“I lose my balance and I have a leg that wants to go out,” Mary Ann said. “I called them (Lifeline) and they came over.”

Since 2003 Mary Ann has used the Lifeline services that are administered by Campbell County Home Health. Living alone, it helps her maintain her freedom with the assurance that help isn’t far away if she needs it.

“It gives me a peace of mind,” Mary Ann said. “It gives my family a peace of mind. Without it I wouldn’t be living by myself. I’d be in a nursing home.”

Lifeline also allows Mary Ann to get out and enjoy her life. She frequently volunteers at Campbell County Health, as well as the Campbell County Senior Center.

Lifeline has been offered through Campbell County Health for decades. The service, which currently has about 140 subscribers, helps individuals live at home with the security of knowing help isn’t far away if something happens. Regardless of the service users choose, subscribers can just push a button to contact the Lifeline system for assistance. If it’s an emergency, responders are sent out immediately to check on the individual.

Ashley Fraser, RN, CCH Home Health and Hospice Director“Lifeline is a service that we provide through a landline or cell phone,” said Ashley Fraser, RN, director of Home Health and Hospice. “The whole intention is to provide people with more independence and keep them at home.”

As healthcare has evolved and patients have shorter stays in hospitals and more surgeries are done on an outpatient basis, individuals have needed to rely on outside support more and more. Many of Lifeline’s current users are elderly individuals who live alone or are left alone for long periods during the day.

“People are at home when they’re at a more vulnerable state than ever before,” Ashley said. “The primary benefit is if someone has fallen or injured themselves and they’re alone, they will receive pretty much immediate assistance. Lifeline allows them to press a button and get the emergent assistance they need.”

While the service is reasonably priced at $25 to $45 a month depending on the features clients request, it’s still an expense that can challenge individuals living on a fixed income. That’s why Campbell County Health can offer clients the service at a free or reduced rate based on their income level with the support of funding from the Campbell County Healthcare Foundation.

When the Foundation created the Festival of Trees 26 years ago, Lifeline was the first health care service it supported. Today, as the foundation prepares for the annual event on November 17-19, Lifeline will once again be a service that benefits from the more than $100,000 raised during the event.

“The Healthcare Foundation does such a good job of supporting health care for all ages of people in the community,” said Nachelle McGrath, executive director of the Campbell County Healthcare Foundation. “We feel it’s important to support our senior population in keeping them comfortable in their home for as long as they can.”

Campbell County Health Home Health provides care to patients at home—where they receive support from trained medical professionals, family, friends, plus the comfort of familiar surroundings. You can learn more about Home Health and Hospice services at www.cchwyo.org/hhh or call 307.688.6230.

Did you know that by supporting Festival of Trees, you support Lifeline and people just like Mary Ann? The 26th annual Festival of Trees begins Friday, November 17 at CAM-PLEX Energy Hall, featuring beautifully decorated trees, wreaths and centerpieces for live and silent auction. All proceeds benefit Lifeline, Close to Home Hospice Hospitality House and the Campbell County Healthcare Foundation’s PET/CT Capital Campaign. The Festival of Trees is sponsored by CCH, Cloud Peak Energy, White’s Frontier Motors and Rotary. Visit www.gillettefestivaloftrees.com for a complete schedule of events.

Article written by Kim Phagan-Hansel, Wyoming freelance writer