Dick Tracy Wrist Radio Technology Launching Thursday in McHenry County

The idea of a wrist radio transmitter to help find missing people will become a reality starting April 2nd.

Soon-to-be elected (because she is unopposed) Grafton Township Supervisor Linda Moore re-surfaced the concept last year. Her Huntley precinct contains much of Sun City.

Twenty minutes is the average time it takes to find a lost relative using the system, which the head of Good Shepherd’s Emergency Department, Dr. Joe Giangrasso likens to a LoJack system for people.

Sponsored by Advocate’s Good Shepherd Hospital, the program was announced at the grand opening of the new Crystal Lake intermediate care facility across from the Pingree Road Metra Station. It is staffed by a Board Certified Emergency Care doctor each day from 8 to 8.

The wrist radios will allow the tracking of those with Alzheimer’s, Down’s Syndrome or Autism who are prone to wander.

Upon notification of the police in Huntley and Crystal Lake, or McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren in the rest of McHenry County, the search begins.

Here is the Good Shepherd press release:

Care Trak safety net technology for McHenry County’s Autistic, Alzheimer’s residents launches April 2nd

(Crystal Lake, IL) Care Trak®, an advanced wireless tracking technology that serves as a safety net for families and caregivers of loved ones with Alzheimer’s, Autism and Down’s Syndrome, will roll out at a special launch event on Thursday, April 2nd. The event will be held 11:00am at the McHenry County Mental Health Board, 620 Dakota Street, Crystal Lake.

Members of the media and interested residents are encouraged to attend. Intake professionals from the Family Alliance will be on hand to enroll family members and the Crystal Lake police and McHenry County Sheriff’s Office may be able to provide a real-time demonstration of the technology.

Last fall, a coalition of law enforcement, health care and social service agencies announced that three separate Care Trak® systems would be deployed, operational and ready to serve McHenry County residents in early 2009.

All three systems – one in Crystal Lake, another in Huntley, and a third as a county-wide system to be managed and operated by the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office – were funded entirely by Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington.

The majority of patients Good Shepherd cares for are McHenry County residents.

Each participant in the program is required only to pay a one-time rental fee for a tracking bracelet and a modest monthly maintenance fee.

What is Care Trak®?

The technology employs unique radio transmitter devices that are secured on a person’s wrist or ankle, and enables law enforcement to pinpoint the precise location of an individual who may have wandered from their home or place of care. Individuals with Autism, Down’s or forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s, are prone to wander off or become disoriented.

Only law enforcement agencies are authorized to operate these systems, and specific criteria is in place for an individual to qualify being covered using the technology:

  • The individual must be clinically diagnosed with Autism, Down’s syndrome or a form of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s;
  • They must have a full-time caregiver, either by a family member or clinical professional;
  • The person has demonstrated being prone to wander off.

Other contributors

In addition to Good Shepherd, law enforcement partners and Family Alliance providing professionals to screen and enroll residents, other key organizations have joined the effort to bring this to their communities, including:

  • McHenry County Mental Health Board
  • McHenry Autism Group
  • Talk About Curing Autism
  • Autumn Leaves, a memory care facility in Huntley
  • Bickford, a memory care facility set to open soon in Crystal Lake
  • Crystal Lake Dawn Breakers Club of Rotary International

About Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital

Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Illinois is an acute care medical facility with approximately physicians representing 50 medical specialties. It is part of Advocate Health Care, the largest, health care delivery system in Illinois, which in 2007 provided $344 million in community benefit, charity care and services for Chicago area residents. For more about Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, click on the link.

About Family Alliance

Family Alliance, Inc.’s mission is to enable seniors to remain at home by providing best-of-practice day programming, advocacy and counseling, while supplying respite, education, training and support to their caregivers. A not-for-profit, comprehensive geriatric health facility serving seniors and their caregivers Family Alliance’s programs help mentally and physically frail elderly to remain at home and in the care of loved ones, avoiding premature placement in nursing homes. Family Alliance’s services are not duplicated by another McHenry County agency, and remains the only adult day health care service in McHenry County. For more about Family Alliance, click on the link

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McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren can be seen showing Linda Moore a wanted posted for Edward Sylvio Demers, who walked away from his home in Johnsburg on October 13, 2003. He has not been seen since.

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