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How Do Medical Alert Systems Work?

Monday, May 17th

How Do Medical Alert Systems Work?

We've all seen the television commercials: an elderly woman who is home alone falls, realizes her hip is likely broken, and can't reach a telephone. It could be hours or even days before anyone finds her. What does she do? She activates her emergency medical response device and calls for help.

While the commercial may be corny, the idea behind it is lifesaving.

Medical alert bracelets and home emergency response systems have existed in some form or another since the early 1950s. As technology improves, so do the offerings for such systems, expanding the ways in which these devices can be used, as well as the response time by medical personnel when they are activated.

There are many emergency alert systems on the market today, and it can be confusing as to which is the best option for your individual needs. All of the ads and promotions found when a website search is conducted for emergency alert systems can be enough to leave a person's head spinning for hours. So what is available and how do these systems work?

Medical alert systems may differ in some respects, but they all work in the same general fashion. When activated - usually by pushing a button on a device you are wearing or through a voice-activated system - they send a signal to an alert monitoring center. It is the job of the people who operate the monitoring center to assess the medical situation, then to call in the appropriate personnel to handle it. If a client requires medical attention, a 911 call will be placed on their behalf and the proper authorities will be dispatched to the scene. Some medical alert systems also will contact a designated friend or family member in the event of an emergency.

Some equipment you may expect to find in a medical alert system includes a wearable device that is durable and waterproof, allowing it to be worn while in the shower or even in the pool. It can be activated by pushing a button. A signal is sent from the device to a medical alarm speaker. Once the button is pushed, the call center is alerted, and they will be able to speak to you through the device to determine what kind of emergency is being experienced and what kind of assistance is required.

Another fetaure you may find in a medical alert system is a wearable device which helps to detect if the person wearing it has fallen. Wearing a device that requires the user to push a button for assistance is only helpful if the person is still conscious and able to do so. Some companies will send out a technician, who will install the system for you, while others require the user to install the equipment themselves.

Some home alarm companies also are jumping on the medical alert bandwagon. These can be some of the most technologically-advanced systems - but they also are some of the most expensive to install and operate.

When choosing a medical alert system, be sure to check reviews, ask for references and choose a plan that is affordable to you. As a general rule, if you are uncomfortable with anything being proposed or feel that you are being forced to accept a long-term contract in order to be provided with service, then the company is one that you should probably avoid.

The Best Medical Alert Systems Compare Medical Alert Systems Compare Medical Alert System Reviews What are the best Medical Alert Systems Best Medical Alert System Reviews

Medical Alert System FAQ

A medical alert system is often used by seniors who want to "age in place" rather than move to an independent/assisted living facility. Using a button on a pendant or wrist strap, they can let loved ones and/or emergency responders know that they need help due to a fall or medical situation.
Most systems on the market include a wearable panic button and round-the-clock remote monitoring. You can choose a plan that covers in-home use only or one that includes coverage when the wearer is out and about.
That depends on the person using the system and what kind of help they might need. Some medical alert systems include automatic fall detection, GPS tracking, and even smartwatch features like heart rate monitoring and tracking health goals.
Pricing varies, but you can anticipate monthly service fees ranging from $19.95 to $56.95 - the higher your coverage, the more you'll pay per month. You'll also need to factor in equipment costs: some service providers let you choose between buying it outright (lower monthly fees) and renting it (higher monthly fees).
Unfortunately, you won't get coverage for a medical alert system through Original Medicare or Medicaid. But, if you have a supplemental insurance plan, you might be able to get a discount. Check with your carrier if this applies to you.
The majority of medical alert systems come with a 30-day trial or money-back guarantee. However, with respect to the equipment, you'll want to read the fine print to understand your provider's terms if something goes wrong with your panic button or with any other devices down the line.
Yes. Very few medical alert providers lock you into a long-term contract. Most often, you'll get a prorated refund for any prepaid months of coverage once you return rented equipment. Plus, you have that initial trial period of 15-30 days that's offered by most medical alert services.
Your best bet is to see what other customers have to say. Look for reviews, preferably on third-party sites not affiliated with the provider. Another great resource is the Better Business Bureau: an "A+" rating and accreditation are good signs that you or your loved one will be well-protected by a particular medical alert service.

Compare Medical Alert Systems

Select any 2 Medical Alert Systems to compare them head to head

best-medical-alert-systems
  • Medical Guardian
  • Bay Alarm Medical
  • Mobile Help
  • Life Fone
  • Philips Lifeline
  • Life Station
  • Rescue Alert
  • ADT
  • Life Alert
  • Alert 1
  • Response Link
Medical Guardian vs Bay Alarm Medical Medical Guardian vs Mobile Help Medical Guardian vs Life Fone Medical Guardian vs Philips Lifeline Medical Guardian vs Life Station Medical Guardian vs Rescue Alert Medical Guardian vs ADT Medical Guardian vs Life Alert Medical Guardian vs Alert 1 Medical Guardian vs Response Link Bay Alarm Medical vs Mobile Help Bay Alarm Medical vs Life Fone Bay Alarm Medical vs Philips Lifeline Bay Alarm Medical vs Life Station Bay Alarm Medical vs Rescue Alert Bay Alarm Medical vs ADT Bay Alarm Medical vs Life Alert Bay Alarm Medical vs Alert 1 Bay Alarm Medical vs Response Link Mobile Help vs Life Fone Mobile Help vs Philips Lifeline Mobile Help vs Life Station Mobile Help vs Rescue Alert Mobile Help vs ADT Mobile Help vs Life Alert Mobile Help vs Alert 1 Mobile Help vs Response Link Life Fone vs Philips Lifeline Life Fone vs Life Station Life Fone vs Rescue Alert Life Fone vs ADT Life Fone vs Life Alert Life Fone vs Alert 1 Life Fone vs Response Link Philips Lifeline vs Life Station Philips Lifeline vs Rescue Alert Philips Lifeline vs ADT Philips Lifeline vs Life Alert Philips Lifeline vs Alert 1 Philips Lifeline vs Response Link Life Station vs Rescue Alert Life Station vs ADT Life Station vs Life Alert Life Station vs Alert 1 Life Station vs Response Link Rescue Alert vs ADT Rescue Alert vs Life Alert Rescue Alert vs Alert 1 Rescue Alert vs Response Link ADT vs Life Alert ADT vs Alert 1 ADT vs Response Link Life Alert vs Alert 1 Life Alert vs Response Link Alert 1 vs Response Link
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