A Madison startup is looking to provide unseen protection for the elderly while delivering
information on their vital signs to caregivers.
Virtue Solutions has created a wristband the size of a large watch that’s equipped to measure vital signs, such as blood pressure and heart rate, sleep quality, location and fall detection. It’s also tamper proof and water resistant.
“Science tells us that regardless of what you’ve got going on, your ‘fight or flight’ response
kicks in, your heart rate goes up. Virtue will sense that and set off an alarm, letting all the
caregivers know that either something is wrong or something completely else is happening,”
founder Melissa Miller explained.
Everyone ages or knows of a loved one who has aged, yet the current market for nurse call
pendants lacks imagination, according to Miller.
“Virtue was created around the senior living population. So specifically assisted living, nursing
homes, long term care facilities, for which Virtue is meant to replace the nurse call pendant – a
push button that doesn’t provide any information.” Miller said.
Residents at nursing homes and care facilities press the same button for breaking a bone, falling, wanting to go to the bathroom, and just hoping to talk with someone, leaving caregivers in the dark as to their resident’s needs.
This “fight or flight” response is not confined to physical harm, but emotional as well.
“(With) the current pendants, you obviously have to be coherent enough to push it. This one you
don’t have to worry about it. Once it’s on, it will alert for you,” Miller said.
In fact, every alert to caregivers starts a countdown to calling local 911, improving the safety of
Virtue isn’t stopping there, however. It has plans to release more product lines, the next aimed at caregivers.
“They will be receiving alerts and are rechargeable. They have a touchscreen, so the alerts will just cycle through,” Miller said.
Miller presented for Virtue Solutions at the Wisconsin Technology Council’s Early Stage Symposium in November, where scores of potential investors were on hand to hear about the company. The company has raised $300,000 to date and is looking for another $500,000 to continue its growth.
For Miller and the rest of the Virtue team, the wristband is symbolic of restoring dignity and
respect for elders by caring for them more efficiently.
“Every single person on the Virtue team has a big heart for that population,” she said.
By Rebecca Rice
Rebecca Rice is a student in the UW-Madison Department of Life Sciences Communications.