A local emergency services company wants to see families be able to have Christmas together in their homes.
Lifestar Ambulance Service in Jacksonville is again hosting the company’s annual Home for the Holidays program. Lifestar will give transportation to a relative’s home for people in skilled care facilities, and other persons that are disabled, bed-ridden or wheel chair bound so they can spend the holiday together.
Jason Shumaker, Operations Manager of Lifestar Ambulance Service in Jacksonville, says that the program is one way Lifestar can show appreciation to the citizens they serve on a yearly basis.
“Our Home for the Holidays Program is a way of giving back to the community. What we do is, we give family members who normally can’t go home to be with their families during the holidays, the ability to go home and spent time with their family. We bring them from the local nursing facilities. The families make arrangements with that facility, so we can then pick them up and transport their loved one to their home, or if they are having a get together somewhere else here in town, we can take them there as well and leave them with their family so they can spend time with them for the holiday, at least for a little while. Then we will pick them up and take them back to the nursing facility.”
There is no charge for the service. Shumaker says that the number of people transported has varied with some years having one two riders, while other years they have had 10 to 12. Shumaker says that the service is not just for people in skilled care facilities.
“Anyone who is able to go home, but they just can’t ride in a car or are in a wheelchair or bedridden, and they have a place at home where we can put them, say a bed set up in the living room or somewhere, then we can transfer them back to their home, and we don’t charge anything to family or the patient to do that.”
Shumaker said that the program is something the employees of Lifestar enjoy doing every year, and that the gratitude that has been expressed in years past by people that would normally have to spend holidays away from their family has been overwhelming.
Lifestar will schedule a pick up time and a time to return people back to their residences after spending time with their families. Shumaker stressed that if the person is a resident of a skilled care facility, there may be a release that the family may need to sign with that facility.
Family members choosing to utilize the service should check with the Director of Nurses for their particular facility to find out what the procedure is.
To schedule times for using the service, you can contact the Lifestar dispatch, or ask their nursing personnel to do so between the hours of 7:00 am to 3:00 pm Monday through Friday the week prior, by calling 245-7540.
Lifestar asks that people wanting to take advantage of the of this service, call only during those days so scheduling can be completed to accommodate as many families as possible this holiday season.