In recent years police and hospital alerts for missing patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s have become depressingly commonplace.
These confused, frightened people are found but often only after some time. It’s crucial time too as they could have fallen or injured themselves with no one around to assist.
So I was pleased to read that some organizations in Tennessee are looking at ways to expand the use of tracking devices for individuals with cognitive disorders.
After one too many searches for these wandering patients, Sheriff Mike Blakely heard about Project Lifesaver, a nonprofit organization that works to put tracking devices on those suffering with disorientation.
The article quotes Blakely as observing that if someone they were looking for had a device on, they could find them in 30 minutes.
The $300 cost of the devices is small when put up against the cost to Medicare for treating hospitalization and therapy costs for those found after a period of time. According to the story, it typically takes nine hours to find a lost person. The devices cut that down to 15 to 30 minutes, a dramatic drop in the police and emergency services needed.
It is those nine hours that struck me. Nine hours is too long in any case but in a state such as ours it could be fatal. This is an initiative that should be expanded upon in all states.