Medical Alarm System Information
In medical alert situations, having a medical alert alarm system is crucial. Often referred to simply as "Medical Alarm" or "Medical Alert", these systems are greater than traditional medical alert bracelets, which otherwise would only list health information. These medical alarm devices are actually wearable, wireless medical help buttons. When pressed, a series of events are initiated by the respective medical alarm company whose job it is to provide 24/7 medical alarm monitoring. Often relied on by seniors who wish to remain independent, these devices, also known as Senior Medical Alarm Systems, provide a designed layer of defense against specific emergency medical alert situations - where with an able push of a button, could trigger help to be dispatched. Medical alarms can come with a bundle of device options, usually free as part of the service subscription plan, from medical alert bracelets, medical alarm watches, medical alert pendants, to medical alarm necklaces - all patching back to a centralized alert monitoring base. Conceived by Wilhelm Hormann in the early 1970s and originally developed in Germany, the popularity of medical alarm systems have exploded with best practices and technical innovations by such formal groups as MAMMA (the "medical alert monitoring association"). Comparison of medical alert systems should take into account questions below.
The Best Medical Alert Alarm & Medical Alarm Monitoring Company
In selecting a medical alarm system for seniors, you should consider (1) the technologies of the particular medical alert system (in terms of options) and (2) the actual service level/monitoring protocols of the particular medical alarm company. What is the best medical alert system or what is the best medical alarm monitoring service provider may very well be two separate things to consider. More importantly, what may be the best for others may not be the best for you and your loved ones. Remember to select the right one based on your family's specific situation and requirements. Do your research and ask questions - good medical alarm companies will answer you readily and you can usually get a good sense of their capabilities and services from your very first interaction with them. Below are some initial values to think through:
1. Medical Alarm System Ratings?
Rating medical alert systems can arguable be subjective and ubiquitous because they generally all come from the same technology standards. Alternative to just reviews or ratings of medical alert devices, you should hold higher priority on the actual business rating of the medical alert monitoring companies. Confidence in a device is one thing but confidence in a service provider is another. Keep in mind that these companies make money by not just selling devices (some of them give devices out for free anyway) but that they do so on actual monitoring services. When I started my research, I was amazed to find the make up of the industry in terms of maximum leverage of resellers. If you search for medical alert systems or elderly medical alert alarms online you'll find many web sites selling what seem to be the same system and the same medical monitoring service provider. Some of these sites seem to be really out-date and 'shady' (to use a reactive word). Whether or not they seem legitimate or not, most of these sites will have a statement proclaiming their respective business rating from the Better Business Bureau ®. Most of these companies will state their rating within the range of "A." Better Business Bureau is a franchised company that provides stated accreditation and certification based on their proprietary methodology and views. There have been debates publicly about the definition of their ratings. Companies that provide medical alert alarms publicize their rating for the obvious purpose of earning your positive qualification of their business. It is up to you to agree or disagree whether or not you'll find confidence in the company simply by their stated accreditation - as I believe all accreditation are up for debate either way. In my own research, I often dig beyond the rating to understand exactly the stated service level of the provider and a clear understanding of how their monitoring centers are managed and operated. Keep in mind that some providers may actually outsource their monitoring centers. Doing the research will give you greater sense of any third-party approval status.
Differences in Medical Alert Alarm Systems?
Medical Alarm Systems generally share the same technology baseline. An average system consists of wireless devices that are wearable from medical alarm bracelets, medical alert necklaces, medical alarm watches, to medical emergency pendants. These devices are synced to a base system which is in turned linked to a monitoring center, staffed 24/7 by operators. Think of the entire technology bundle as similar to enabling your loved ones to carry around small beeper-like devices. When they press the emergency medical alert button on a particular device, the base system, which can look like the average answering machine from the '90s, sends a signal to the medical alarm monitoring center. The center then executes their specific protocols (service level) of when such alerts are triggered. Their job is to qualify the alert and notify loved ones and local medical response units as needed. Ranges of the wireless devices can vary in relations to how far they can be from the base system but generally it is expected that the monitored individual can move freely within the premise of the house where the base system may be set up to even the extended parameters of the house such as the garden or the end of the driveway.
Free Medical Alarm System?
Some medical alarm monitoring companies provide free medical alert alarm systems as part of their monthly subscription service plans. Some medical alarm companies, however, do not and thus force you to either pay a one-time equipment fee or a nominal rental fee as part of the particular subscription plan.
Discounted Medical Alarm System versus Discounted Medical Alarm Service Provider?
Deals on Medical Alert Alarm Systems are plenty. Discounts on affordable medical alert devices are generally not the same however as discounts and values on actual medical alert service companies and their respective monthly subscriptions. Lower monitoring service subscription prices may have hidden costs as well as lower than expected service level of monitoring and response protocols. In reviewing medical alarm companies, it is very important to understand whether or not they outsource the monitoring centers to places like India or they subcontract their entire monitoring service to an undisclosed third-party company. While the centers do not have to be physically close to your loved ones, understanding the monitoring staff initial and on-going training is absolutely important. You need to understand their operational guidance and accountability in responding to medical alerts.
Medical Alarm System for Chinese Seniors? Spanish Medical Alarm System? Vietnamese Medical Alarm System? Japanese Medical Alert System?
The medical alarm industry exploded from its research origin in the Germany in the 1970s. Medical alert systems are popular in North America and throughout Europe and Asia. Based on location of service, medical alarm systems providers can meet specific language requirements. However, in North America, it is generally an English-only service provision. It is important to note however that pressing the medical emergency alarm button can simply initiate a response protocol by the monitoring company without actually having to talk to the person being monitored. Generally, the company will execute contact with emergency listed contacts in addition to or in parallel to notifying local government's medical units where a) the language barrier exists and/or be) attempted communications with the monitoring recipient failed. In my research, I have only found one medical alarm company and medical alert system that support multilingual monitoring. They are this month's highlighted provider.
Medical Alarm Monitoring Protocols?
What happens after the medical alert button is pressed may vary drastically from one medical alarm company to the next based on applied practices and stated protocols of your subscription's service level. When you select your medical alarm system and the monitoring provider, make sure that you understand exactly what happens when the alarm is actually triggered. Some companies follow portions of, all, or greater than the following options: 1) call the house of the monitoring recipient to attempt establishing communication (this can be done through direct dial of the listed phone or through the optional communication intercom sometimes functionally included with the base system) 2) call one or more of the listed emergency contacts for the monitoring recipient to see if they could establish communication and 3) call the local medical emergency response unique (i.e. 911) to request a wellness check of the residence. It is important to note that generally medical alarm systems and medical alert companies do not rely on their own dispatch personnel to respond to alerts (unlike the general practice of home security providers). The medical alarm companies traditionally rely on local government response units as needed while leveraging listed emergency contact. This practice suppresses the cost of service and thus you will find that medical alert systems and medical alarm monitoring for your seniors to be more affordable then your home security package. Plus, there is no greater peace then knowing that your elderly loved ones have at least a default line of defense against emergencies by a push of a button.
Medical Alert Systems and Medical Alert Company / Service Provider
While medical alert alarm systems and the monitoring service provider may be synonymous (as in, you buy the system and thus you have to buy the service plan as well from one source), there are some systems out there that do not force you to have a monitoring service package. Some standalone systems will simply enable the monitoring recipient to push a button and the base system will then attempt an automated call to the person emergency phone number set up in the system i.e. a neighbor or a relative.
More Information about Medical Alarm Systems
1. Does this medical alert system work with VOIP (voice over internet protocol) telephone services?
Almost all medical alarm systems will require an actual phone landline. The landline has a lower risk of going down as opposed to internet-based phone line which will fail when your internet is disconnected somehow (think of how many times in a year you have to a) restart your modem b) restart your computer or c) call your internet provider to figure out why you can't get online)
2. What is the range of the medical alert system?
Medical alarm systems come generally with a base that is connected to the phone line. The person being monitored will wear generally a necklace or a watch with the alarm button. There are specific ranges that the alarm button can move away from the base. Generally it is 400 to 1000 FT.
3. Who will install the medical alarm system? Can I do it myself?
Most systems will let you do the easy set up.
4. Who staffs your call center, where are they located? Does the Medical device company outsource the actual call center?
You will have to quiz the company very specifically. Outsourcing of call centers can be a general practice but most firms will not be so upfront about it for obvious reasons.
5. What are the average response times upon me pressing the alarm button? What is the service level agreement specifically stated in contract?
All medical alarm system companies will state specifically step-by-step of what they will do as protocols immediately after the alarm button is pressed. You need to understand each step and you need to ask for proper statement of each step in a contract.
6. Does the medical alert system come with other services? Will the call center support multiple languages?
Medical alarm systems can go beyond to actually monitor movement (wellness check-in) as well as smoke and carbon monoxide. In Wellness Check-in, particular medical alert system will actually have the base beep every few days or on a daily basis, at a specifically set time (usually in the AM). This forces then the person being monitored to have to physically go to the base to turn off the beep. If that person fails to do so, the alarm will register this as a default alarm and will kick in the alarm protocols.
7. Is there an activation fee? Am I forced into a long-term contract?
Most do not have activation fees. Most, however, do encourage annual contracts with deeper discounts applied if you opt for that versus say a month-to-month plan.
About This Site
This site provides medical alarm reviews, driven by research and opinions. Use and share this site with others to start your search for the right medical alert system. As a professional blogger, I publish content that are meaningfully applicable to me. In search of the best medical alarm system for my elderly parents to maintain their independence, I completed on a year-long research of the medical alert alarm industry. This site compares medical alarm systems and the many types of medical alert service providers out there. Based on my research, I arrived at what was ultimately a very personal decision to select the best medical alarm system and medical alert monitoring company that were respectively right for my family's situation. Not wanting good research to go to waste, this site contains all that I learned about medical alarm systems for seniors. I hope that MedicalAlarmSystem.org enables your search for the right senior medical alarm. The decision is yours to qualify and make with your loved ones.
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