TORONTO, April 13, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Lifeguard Digital Health is pleased to announce their life-saving overdose prevention app is expanding into Northwestern Ontario through a pilot this spring. NorWest Community Health Centres, with the support of The District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board is the first in Ontario to partner with Lifeguard DH as part of a comprehensive response to the overdose crisis.
The Lifeguard App provides support to people who use drugs with a direct link to emergency responders if an overdose occurs, which could save their life. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, Ontario reported over 2000 opioid-related deaths in 2020, reflecting an increase of 59% compared to the same period in 2019.
As part of Northwestern Ontario’s integrated approach to mental health and addiction services, the Lifeguard App will be accessible to the region’s over 200 000 residents.
Juanita Lawson, CEO of NorWest Community Health Centres says, “With our commitment to primary health care as well as prevention, the Lifeguard App provides an innovative solution to the ongoing overdose crisis. By incorporating the Lifeguard App into the services offered in our region, we are confident we can not only save lives, but nurture safer, healthier communities. We are pleased to be working in collaboration with our community partners and in particular, Emergency Medical Services.”
The Lifeguard App is activated by the user before they take their dose, with a one-minute timer. The alarm time can be extended up to five minutes but if the user fails to hit the stop button, the alarm will grow louder until a text-to-voice call goes to emergency medical dispatchers alerting them of a potential overdose. This crucial connection to EMS services can be the difference between life and death.
The app also provides users with important support should they come across someone who is overdosing; this includes a Naloxone Guide and CPR instructions, so that anyone present can assist before the ambulance arrives. In addition to these supports, the app also includes links to 811 for medical advice, a suicide line, and a crisis hotline, helping people to connect to the right support at the right time.
Bill Bradica, CAO of TBDSSAB, says, “We are pleased to support NorWest Community Health Centre in launching this important, life-saving initiative to protect members of our community.”
TBDSSAB’s financial support for this initiative is part of one-time funding provided by Ontario’s Ministry of Health through the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
Developed in Vancouver, BC, Lifeguard Digital Health’s Lifeguard App launched in British Columbia with the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA), in partnership with regional health authorities. With the overdose crisis being exacerbated by the isolation people are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lifeguard App has been instrumental in saving 17 lives in BC so far. There are over 5000 people now using the app since it launched in May 2020.
“I commend Juanita and the team at NorWest Community Health Centres, and The District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board for their decision to not only implement the Lifeguard App and start saving lives immediately, but also for their overall commitment to the overdose crises”, says Lifeguard Digital Health Founder and CEO Jeff Hardy. “Lifeguard Digital Health is extremely proud to be selected as another tool in the continued efforts to curb the overdose crises.”
About Lifeguard Digital Health
Lifeguard Digital Health creates digital health solutions (applications) that reduce harm, prevent involuntary deaths, and improve quality of life. The company integrates technology innovations on its evan platform, including artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT), permission blockchain, and informatics. Complying with the highest levels of security and privacy regulations, it works closely with health authorities and emergency health services. For more information, please visit www.lifeguarddh.com
About NorWest Community Health Centres
NWCHC delivers primary health care along with allied health services in the City and District of Thunder Bay. NWCHC’s mission is to respond to individual and local community needs by providing a range of services that will improve the health and well-being of people and their communities. NWCHC’s aim is to improve accessibility through holistic, integrated and comprehensive care for those facing systemic barriers to accessing services, including Indigenous and racialized communities. Its priority populations are individuals experiencing health disparities. For more information please visit www.norwestchc.org
About The District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board
The District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board (TBDSSAB) is the service system manager for Child Care and Early Years programs, Community Housing, the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative and manages delivery of Ontario Works for the District of Thunder Bay.
Colleen Kirk | Kirk Group Media
SOURCE Lifeguard Digital Health