Medical Alarm Companies
1. Hospital and quasi-governmental programs which are operated by volunteers with subsidized pricing structures
2. For-profit companies which provide in-home medical alarm devices for seniors
3. Full-service companies that provide installation, on-going education, and periodic testing programs
These three general types of medical alarm companies all offer some baseline of alarm monitoring and response/execution of protocols to emergency medical alarms. But one company to the next, there are key differences in price structure and service level as well as technologies. In reviewing medical alert alarm system you have to have a report card scoring sheet. Criteria that you need to considers are 1) General Rating 2) Installation Requirements 3) Actual Monitoring Features and Power 4) Company/Service Level and 5) Additional Services. The following are two articles for you to learn more about the medical alert alarm industry and the services and products that may vary from one provider to the next.
Medical Alert Company in My Area? What is a Medical Alarm System?
It is important to note that generally you do not have to be geographically close to a medical alert company or its monitoring center to gain from their services. However, smaller companies do state very specifically their coverage areas based on where the monitoring recipient's home may be. The bigger companies, with in my opinion greater servicing capabilities, will be well suited to serve you almost anywhere you may live. A simple web search will yield medical alarm companies that are in your area.
A basic medical alarm system consists of (1) an emergency wireless transmitter, which is worn like a necklace or a watch and (2) a base system, or station, which is connected to a land telephone line that is then synced to a monitoring or alerting source such as a medical alarm monitoring company or a local government medical response unit. The base system generally has a very sensitive microphone and loud speaker. Additional sensors such as smoke, motion and fall detectors can provide proactive monitoring but the baseline medical alert system is commonly an active, button-based triggered, alarm unit. You cannot use VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol, i.e internet phones like MagicJack or Vonage) because most providers want to limit the risk of your phone line being discounted in cases of emergencies since industry position is that your internet connectivity would more often fail than your actual land-line phone (which, in my opinion is true). Note that some land-line phone providers now actually have modem and other internet-like apparatus deployed as if they were only offering VOIP. You need to call your phone provider and quiz them on this while asking them to show you a written statement that it is indeed a land-line phone that you are getting.
By general design, alarm units have safety measures against power failure. In cases of emergency, pressing the alert button will provide alert to the monitoring body. Devices are intelligent enough to automatically disconnect any existing telephone connections so that the alert can go through as a priority. Based on the medical alert systems and the monitoring service provider, an alert usually arrives at a monitoring center where the data of the monitoring recipient is shown on a computer for a trained operator to review. Data included information such as home address, emergency contacts, and information such as health conditions, age etc.). While it is highly recommended that you purchase a medical alarm system with the sign-on of an active monitoring package, there are options out there for you to simply by the system without paying a monthly service fee to the monitoring company. Without a monitoring service provider, some alert systems may simply pass the alert to the listed phone number of the family member or even an automatic dial of the local government's medical response unit.
Stated succession of communication attempts are executed immediately after the alert is triggered. If the base system has a microphone and speaker function option in place then the applicable monitoring center may attempt initial contact with the monitored recipient. Afterwards or in parallel, emergency contacts may also be contacted with priority to call local medical dispatchers as needed based on internal protocols of the specific medical alert monitoring providers. Some systems and providers, provide a lockbox to place a spare house key securely outside of the house for medical personnel to gain access to with the guidance of the monitoring center providing the correct access code. Newest medical alarm systems may contain additional intelligence where the monitoring recipient, for example, must press a button on the base system once very 12 to 24 hours. If a period extends and the button is not pressed, then a passive alert is initiated with the monitoring center initiating a wellness check-in. As mentioned, enabled by equipment capabilities, some providers can expand monitoring services to includefire, smoke, and carbon monoxide alerts.
Home Medical Alarm Systems Providers
Which senior medical alert system will be best for you and your loved ones? There are many of them out there and if you quickly search online you may discover that some of them are less reputable then others. When I first started out, I was shocked at how horrible looking some of their web sites were. I soon discovered that there were a lot of resellers in this niche industry. Below is the most exhaustive list Medical Alarm Systems providers that I found during my search. I ended up with the top three - Bay Alarm Medical, Life Station, and Life Fone - for several personal reasons.
ADT Medical Alert ®, Alzheimer's Association Comfort Zone Check in ® , AMAC ®, Arcadian Monitoring Services ® , Bay Alarm Medical ®, Brickhouse Alert ®, Chaprone Alert ® , Connect America ® , CST ® , Guardian Medical Monitoring ®, Healthcom ® , Halo Monitoring ® , Liberty Medical Response ® , Life Alert ® , Life Fone ® , Life Station ® , Linear Corp ® , Logic Mark ® , Medical Alarm Concepts ® , Medical Guardian ® , Phillips Lifeline® , Pioneer Emergency ® , Rescue Alert ® , Response Link ® , SOS ® , TSI ® , VRI ® , Vital Link ® , Wellcore ®
General rating of the company basically means your judgment of the marketing material provided as well as the pricing structure of the device and service. Figure out of service is available in your area (particularly if you are located in Canada). Remember that most providers will provide the device free of charge as part of the service plan. Service plans can be annual pricing, month-to-month, or semi-annual with discounts usually progressive if you sign on to a greater term commitment. Understand whether or no there are cancellation fees, activation fees, or if the company offers a 15 or 30-day trial period. It is generally uncommon to have cost associated with installations. On the topic of installation, the devices should be fairly simple to set up without technical expertise. The most important thing is to understand the service level (how will they respond when the alert button is pressed). The second important thing in my opinion is understanding of the range that the monitoring recipient can move away from the base system for the device to actually work. Some systems allow only a ridiculous range of 150 feet while others go as high as 1000 feet. The shorter the range, the less mobile your loved ones can be from the place where the base system is hooked up to a power source and to a physical phone line. Usually for elderly parents, 150 feet mobility is good enough but some people are most comfortable with higher parameters of 400 - 800. Speaking of phone line, it is important to understand if the system will work with land line, cell tower, and/or VOIP. The next level of criteria may be the actual devices themselves with their multiple variations. It is important to understand whether the system will enable two-way communication (between the monitoring center and the person being monitored). Keep in mind that some devices being worn can actually answer incoming calls from the monitoring center. It is always nice to have a waterproof pendant. Power supply and its backup is also an important considerations. Company information is additionally important based on your general rating of the available respective marketing content. How long the company has been around and whether or not the medical alarm service practice is backed by a greater or bigger parent company is important. Additional services like multi-lingual medical alarm monitoring services are important based on the individual basis. Services and custom service are very different. Services related to the service package can include for example scheduled check-in call services and proactive monitoring of movements etc. Customer service may be more applicable to the purchaser of the devices and not the actual monitoring recipient.
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