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Pet Owners Gain Peace of Mind in Emergencies from Unique Program to Protect Beloved Pets
Washington, D.C. (May 22, 2012) – MedicAlert Foundation International, the nonprofit leader in emergency medical information and identification services, has been awarded a $133,000 grant from Amie’s Place Foundation to design an emergency caregiver notification program to protect family pets. The two-year grant will help develop a three phase program. First, a new category of membership for pet owners, which includes storing back-up caregiver information to assure notification in an emergency situation when a pet owner becomes ill or injured. And secondly, for those who qualify, the grant will also fund MedicAlert memberships for individuals who are confined by illness or disability and need to be sure their pets are taken care of should they face a medical emergency or other crisis. Finally, the grant would support the development of collaborations with organizations who wish to provide volunteer community-based pet-care assistance programs for those who risk losing their pets.
Numerous studies have documented the positive and healing effects that pets have on their owners. From lowering blood pressure in people with hypertension, reducing stress, helping prevent heart disease by providing greater psychological stability, to lowering health care costs and fighting depression and isolation, pets contribute to the well-being of their human companions. Recognizing the unique relationship humans and their pets share and how that impacts quality of life, health, and wellness plans, MedicAlert Foundation and Amie’s Place Foundation have collaborated to ensure to a pet owner that a secondary caregiver is alerted to care for their pet(s) and support for those who risk losing their pet(s) until they can be safely reunited following an emergency situation.
“This grant will give MedicAlert Foundation the capability to help fill an unmet need of our members and pet owners worldwide,” said Andrew Wigglesworth, MedicAlert President and Chief Executive Officer. “Pets are valued and vital family members and this safety net we are building will give ill or injured pet owners the reassurance that back-up caregivers can be notified when help is needed. Launching this ‘first-of-its-kind’ initiative is a natural extension of the services we provide to ensure the physical and emotional well-being of the people who depend on the MedicAlert Foundation network.”
“MedicAlert and Amie’s Place have a shared mission of providing comprehensive quality care to those who need help,” explained a member of the Board of Trustees of Amie’s Place Foundation. “The Foundation is committed to helping support organizations that provide direct services for critically and chronically ill children and adults, veterans, the frail elderly, and women and children fleeing domestic violence who risk losing their pets because no one is there to help them. We have teamed up with MedicAlert which provides family and caregiver notification so that members can now be reunited with all their loved ones, including their pets. This unique program will provide the added security of knowing beloved pets will be cared for in the event of an emergency. Peace of mind ensures better outcomes following a medical emergency, and there is a healing presence and profound effect on recovery from illness when all loved ones are safely reunited.”
Participants in the program will provide MedicAlert Foundation with emergency contact and care information about their pets. This information will be added to the member’s personal health record which MedicAlert manages and stores in a secure database. The member’s medical ID, issued by MedicAlert, will also identify the individual as a pet owner. In the event of an emergency, first responders and other medical providers will recognize the medical ID and the wearer as a pet caregiver and immediately contact the MedicAlert 24/7 emergency response service.
About Amie’s Place Foundation
It all began in 1982 in Long Beach, Long Island, with the exceptional work of Lewis Gelfand, DVM who provides pet care treatment and assistance for people too ill to care for their pets. Based on Dr. Gelfand’s work, Amie’s Place Foundation was established in New York City to fund organizations that provide programs for people who need help caring for their pets, who risk losing them during times of crisis, or who face barriers limiting access to their pets when they most need each other. In light of the profound healing effect that pets have on individuals who are going through a difficult, sometimes life-changing event, the Foundation works to provide necessary pet-care assistance and to promote public awareness of the unique relationship a beloved pet and its human companion share. Grants have funded the first Senior Center and hospital-based programs at The Caring Community and St. Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village, New York City. Amie’s Place Foundation has funded programs, that include Beth Israel Hospital, JASA, Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, PAWS NY and Search and Care. The Foundation hopes to see these model programs replicated around the nation to prevent the unnecessary separation of people and pets that need each other. For more information, visit www.amiesplacefoundation.org.
About MedicAlert Foundation International
Established in 1956, the nonprofit MedicAlert Foundation International pioneered the use of medical IDs and delivers the most dependable, responsive, intelligent and trusted Emergency Identification and Medical Information Network. MedicAlert Foundation International provides the functionality of an e-health information exchange through an innovative combination of a unique patient identifier linked to a personal health record and a live 24/7 emergency response service. MedicAlert Foundation International medical IDs alert emergency personnel to a member’s primary health conditions, medications or implanted medical devices. In addition to its 24-hour emergency response service, MedicAlert Foundation International also provides family and caregiver notification so that members can be reunited with their loved ones. MedicAlert Foundation International services are available around the world through a network of international nonprofit affiliated organizations licensed by the Foundation. Visit www.medicalert.org for more information.
MedicAlert Foundation® is more than a medical ID - we are the most dependable, responsive, intelligent, and trusted emergency support network.