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ELAPSE 10 - saving lives in Crook County

This new medical alert program has local emergency response people very excited.
ELAPSE 10 - it's an ingenious new program which has the potential of saving innumerable lives all across our community. Tailored after similar programs in other communities it is based on a relatively simple premise.
   ELAPSE is an acronym for Elder Life Alert Protection System Envelope. As its name suggests, the program centers around a brightly colored envelop containing pertinent medical and personal information which is taped to a person's refrigerator. The 10 stands for the ten minutes _ those critical minutes a rescue worker has to administer life saving treatments _ under life threatening circumstances.
   Spearheaded by Prineville's Mary Reed, the fire department, the Central Oregonian, Chet Peterson's Insurance and the high school's Health Occupations class all have contributed to the effort to launch ELAPSE 10 in Crook County.
   "When someone dials 911, the message goes to fire department and they go in the ambulance out to the home. The rescue workers will know that this program is in place, so the first thing they'll do is check the patient, and the second thing they'll do is check the refrigerator door to retrieve the red envelope containing the vital medical information on that patient," Reed explained. "All the pertinent information is there on two sides of a sheet of paper which can reduce the amount of time it takes to get the medical history."
   With this new program the attending ambulance crew can treat the individual quicker, have more opportunity to save his or her life, and carry out the wishes of the patient pertaining to emergency medical treatment.
   In addition to basic personal information, the ELAPSE 10 information sheet also lists blood type, name of physician, whether or not the person has a pace maker, hearing aid or dentures. It also lists current medications, the name of the insurance company, family contacts and whether or not that person is an organ donor and what the wishes are regarding a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate order). "It's putting a whole bunch of entities together in a quick a quick easy reference for the rescue vehicle," she said.
   Reed got the idea from an article appearing in the Spokane Spokesman Review last October. Recognizing the potential for a local version, she hit the pavement seeking supporters.
   Six months later people everywhere are clamoring to jump on board, eager to pick up a packet, fill out the information and tape it to their refrigerator.
   "With 18,000 people in this community, probably 60 percent of the population could take advantage of the program," she said.
   The ELAPSE 10 packets are available for free at the Senior Center, the library, doctors' offices and at local pharmacies.
   The first 1,000 packets have already been distributed and the second 1,000 went to press this morning with the generous support of Prineville's Larry Beard. "At this point, everything to make this happen has been donated," she said. Although additional sponsors have yet to be identified, Reed is confident that as the need arises, people will step forward.
   As with any good idea, once the ball gets rolling there's no stopping it, as evidenced by the rapidity of the implementation of this program. "The meals-on-wheels folks are already delivering an ELAPSE 10 packet along with the meals to their clients," she said. "...and the 100 patients who use NORCO's oxygen services are also receiving packets this week."
   Rescue workers are equally excited about the program and are looking forward to having it put into action in Crook County homes.
   Emergency Services Coordinator Liz Morgan explained, "It's going to make our job so much easier. So much of the time, what we do is detective work. Either the patient's unconscious and we have no idea what their medical history is, or the family is upset and cannot give us that history. This is something that will be here for us with all of their pertinent information, making it much easier for us to do our job."
   A simple premise with potentially life saving consequences, Reed is eager to see folks utilizing the program. "All that people have to do is fill out the information and keep it updated, put it inside the ELAPSE 10 envelope and tape it to their refrigerator door," she said. "It's really very simple."