Launched the unique initiative to serve during medical emergencies
Joy Roy Choudhury – Kolkata
Recent estimates suggest that people in the 60-plus age group in India will increase to touch 198 million in 2030. The geriatric population will increase to 12 per cent of the total population by 2025, 10 per cent of whom would be bedridden, requiring utmost care. Hence, providing geriatric care to these senior citizens would be a major challenge.
“Nowadays, we have often noticed that aged people are left alone in their houses as their children had to shift their base due to their professional commitments. These hapless people are left at lurch when they need urgent medical attention. So we decided to set up this organistion,” said Apratim Chattopadhyay, Co-founder, MD & CEO of Support Elders, a one-of-its kind social entrepreneurship initiative launched recently in Kolkata for providing customer-directed-at-home support for elderly population. “The biggest fear that the elderly have is the fear of an emergency which inhibits their day-to-day life,” said Chattopadhyay.
He, along with two other founder members, launched this initiative to serve the city’s elderly by leveraging technology and a promise for speedy removal to a partner hospital in case of a medical emergency.
Chattopadhyay said, “Each subscriber registering with us is provided an imported smart-watch for continuous wear. The smart watch has three push-buttons, by pressing any one of it, one can send an alert to the company’s National Alarm Centre located at Salt Lake’s IT hub, along with his/ her GPS location and the unique code number of the smart watch. The built-in loudspeaker and microphone in the smart watch, also allows the subscriber to speak directly to the alarm centre executive for any assistance – the number of which is preset. If someone presses the button but is unable to speak to the operator, then the operator will call him/her back. If the operator does not get any response she will trigger the Member Care Associate who will be pressed into the service’.
“We have divided and sub-divided the entire city into 21 zones/ beats which are handled by different member care associates (MCAs) who will reach the emergency site using the latest GPS tools at the least possible time, intervene and arrange for the ambulance and admit the member to the nearest partner hospital in case of any medical emergency. We are in the process of tying up with leading hospitals in each zone of the city. We also have a protocol in place about whom to reach for spare keys in case the member is unable to open the door,” explained Brig Satyesh Nath Bhaduri, COO, Support Elders.
“Our protocols are designed in such a way so that the entire process is completed with an hour (the ‘Golden Hour’ as per medical parlance). But we are conducting drills on a regular basis to cut down on the time taken,” said Brig Bhaduri.
Besides the Medical Emergency Alert Solutions (MEAS), Support Elders also offers ‘Care Management Services’, which allows remote medical monitoring as well as monitoring of pre-defined virtual boundaries for Alzheimer’s patients, task reminders and notification receiver; and a fall and movement sensor. In addition to this, the MCAs visit the member once a week for health monitoring and helping him/ her with day-to-day, out-of-home chores to help the member function independently in society.
Through the ‘Companionship Services’, it aims to be in regular touch through one-to-one sessions to assist members to be mentally and physically active and stay connected. Professionally qualified caregivers with elderly care orientation are provided.
Support Elders has also devised attractive subscription packages for the members. It charges a nominal security deposit for the smart watch and promises to pay it back in case any subscriber intends to leave.
“Our team consists of retired military personnel, mostly from Army Medical Corps, who are very compassionate to the cause of the elders and visit the member every week to check on the device. These people are pressed into action during medical emergencies. While on their weekly visits, these personnel also offer other support services like buying groceries, medicines or depositing a cheque in the bank of the member,” said Chattopadhyay.
Commenting on future plans, Chattopadhyay said, “As we are only few months old and would now like to concentrate more on the quality aspect. After we capture a sizeable market share in Kolkata, we shall branch out to other parts of the East and the country.”