Nursing home: COVID-19 patient who asked Alexa for help had ‘excellent care’

Coronavirus

An undated courtesy image of LouAnn Dagen, a Metron of Cedar Springs resident who died after contracting COVID-19.

CEDAR SPRINGS, Mich. (WOOD) — One day after News 8 shared the story of a nursing home resident who asked Alexa for help with her pain after she contracted COVID-19, the facility where she lived issued a statement.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with LouAnn Dagen’s sister, family and friends,” Paul Pruitt, director of operations at Metron of Cedar Springs, wrote.

“(LouAnn) had been a resident of our community and in our care for more than 10 years and we cared for her deeply,” he continued in a statement sent by email to News 8.

Dagen, 66, died Saturday shortly after she arrived at the emergency room at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s in Grand Rapids. Kent County records list her cause of death as coronavirus infection, diabetes and hypertension.

“Due to patient privacy regulations we cannot share information about an individual resident’s physical or mental health while they are in our care,” Pruitt wrote. “However, we can share that LouAnn was getting excellent care and that our team was following both her advanced directives and clinical practice guidelines to manage her pain and symptoms. Once those symptoms progressed rapidly, and at the advice of her medical team, she was immediately sent to the hospital.”

>>PDF: Full statement from Pruitt

After Dagen’s death, her sister, Penny Dagen, discovered the Amazon device in her room at Metron had recorded her repeatedly asking Alexa how to control her pain.

In its statement, Metron of Cedar Springs explained that the Alexa Show was LouAnn’s “primary communication tool” with her sister, who could not visit in person. Penny Dagen has diabetes, which led to the loss of both of her legs.

“LouAnn could call her sister through the device and they communicated often. It was a very positive part of (LouAnn’s) life which we supported fully,” Pruitt wrote.

The public relations firm that sent the statement went on to explain that Metron was unable to immediately respond to News 8’s request for comment Tuesday because its “focus remains on the health and wellbeing of its residents and its staff.”

The PR agency also noted “how important it is to be supportive of the hero’s that get up, go to work and care for these residents every day… Like front line hospital workers, they need our support more now than ever. Imagine being in their shoes for just one day….let alone every day. They are amazing.”

Relatives of another Metron of Cedar Spring patient who died from COVID-19 wanted to share how thankful they are for the home’s care.

Maxine Pifer, 96, died Monday at Metron, which is located at 400 Jeffery St. in Cedar Springs. Kent County records listed Pifer’s cause of death as COVID-19, dementia and bradycardia.

Her daughter did not wish to speak about her mother’s death, but did want News 8 to share that staff at Metron of Cedar Springs were “awesome.”


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