Medical Alert in a World of Hurt

The necessity for medical alert systems

A reliable alert system can save a person’s life. Many elderly loved-ones can be saved with a medical alert system. With the increasing age of baby-boomers, the need for medical care is becoming overwhelmingly important. In case of a medical emergency, an alert system may be the difference between life and death.

Medical devices vary in sizes and services. The system will be as unique as the person who wears it. It may be worn as a necklace, bracelet, or pendent, with the simple push of a button, help can be summoned and medical attention can be addressed to a patient in need.

The quickness in response betters the chance of a speedy and successful recovery. Many times in an emergency, you may not be able to get to the telephone and call a doctor or ambulance. Falling or passing out may leave you dizzy and incapacitated. It happens so quickly often you don’t realized it has happened until after the experience. With an alert system you can signal for assistance at the press of a button. Also, if you are around a group of people, on of them can press the button and get the attention you so desperately need. Many times the onlooker cannot determine the nature of the illness. The medical assistance can determine the problem and immediately partake in the proper action as needed.

If you live alone, assistance may not be ready at the drop of a dime. A specific illness may prevent you from acquiring the help you need. You may not have a neighbor or family member check on you until it is too late. Think of your system as your fairy godmother that watches your back just in the worst-case scenario. It is better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.

Your safety and stability resonates with peace of mind of your family and friends. The stress and anxiety can make a family feel worse than the person with the alert system. The weight lifted off one’s shoulder so both the family and the clients are comfortable. They both can rest easy at night knowing help is just one push of a button away.

Every medical alert system has different attributes and specifications. For example, some systems allow you to rent the system on a monthly basis. Others allow only quarterly or annually rental options. In a dismal economy, price always becomes one of the critical decisions in your medical condition. In comparison to an assisted living or retirement home, it is a fraction of the cost. For a cost of less than a week at assisted living, you can activate the medical alert for over a year.

Another concern may be the back-up battery life of your alert system. You do not want you alert failing because of a power shortage. Also depending on your distance from your monitor, the range of the system alert may be a discerning factor. The fact is every medical alert is different. Discovering these differences will be the incisive way to discover what alert system works best for you.

You never know when medical attention is needed. It often happens at the least convenient time in a matter of seconds. It will provide seniors with the confidence and security that help is only a push button. The easiest way to help prevent an accident from happening is to prepare you before it happens.

Medical Alert Systems – The Top 10 Questions You Should Ask Before Buying

Medical Alert Systems (or personal emergency response systems) are wonderful devices that allow aging adults the opportunity to remain in their homes (more safely), and stay as independent as possible. Keeping up with this new technology is difficult, and knowing the right questions to ask is even harder! If you haven’t seen our Medical Alert System Round Up you should check it out, and provide feedback (especially if you’ve had experience with any of the featured manufacturers). Today’s focus on Medical Alert Systems is aptly titled The Top 10 Questions To Ask When Evaluating Medical Alert Systems. So without further adieu… Here is our Top 10 List (drum roll please):

1. Does this medical alert system work with VOIP (voice over internet protocol) telephone services? If you have Comcast or Verizon cable at home, chances are that you might also be using them for your (home) phone service. If that’s the case, you are likely are using a VOIP plan (just as we do with Vonage, another major VOIP provider). Many of the traditional medical alert system providers recommend checking with your home (VOIP) phone provider to see whether they offer local 911 (and other) services. So keep this in mind, and ask*. (*Note: The alert system providers will know about their compatibility with the major phone service providers.)

2. What is the range of my alert system? MOST of the major medical alert system providers have the following components included in their “systems”. A base station and a pendent of some kind (necklace – worn around the neck, belt clip, or wrist watch like device. The myHalo system even has a chest strap). MOST of the pendants need to communicate (wirelessly) with a base station that is connected to your home phone line. So, you need to know the range of that pendant to the base station. Usually this range covers most normal sized homes, and is in the neighborhood of 400-600 feet. After installation be sure to test out the range inside (and outside) the home.

3. Does someone install this for me, or do I do it myself? Many manufacturers have sales/marketing representatives that will come to your home and install/test the system for you. They usually charge a one time set-up fee for this service so ask about that fee is ahead of time! If all they do is send the alert system to you, make sure there is ample literature (on and off line) for assistance with set-up AND testing. Always TEST your medical alert system before using it.

4. Do I need a land line to use this medical alert system? In most cases the answer will be YES, but there are a few exceptions. For example, The MobileHelp Medical Alert System has a small hand-held device that connects to AT&T Wireless for use outside the home (anywhere covered by AT&T). To use their pendant (small necklace) device around the home, you still need a land line however. Also, The Wellcore Personal Emergency Response System boasts the ability to interface with some cell phones to extend the range of their device outside the home.

5. Who staffs your call center, where are they located, and what are the average response times? OK, this is a bit of a loaded question, because “outsourcing” call centers has been a trend that many, many companies take advantage of. Frankly, I’ve found great service from call centers all over the world, and the only thing you need to be wary of here is PERFORMANCE.

6. Does the medical alert system come with other services? Some medical alert systems come with additional services such as medication reminders, glucose monitoring reminders, and the like. It’s good to know what other services can be included with the purchase of your services, so make sure you ask what’s included.

7. What happens if something goes wrong with my equipment? Most of us hate reading the fine print. I challenge anyone out there to read the “terms and conditions” of the 5 or 6 medical alert devices you want to evaluate (gives me a headache even thinking about doing that again). So that in mind, I would encourage anyone making a decision on a particular device to ask; What happens if your system goes down? Does someone come out to fix it? Will they send you another one asap? Do you need to send the dysfunctional system back? etc. Also, one other point… when you have narrowed down your choice, read the fine print by looking up the terms-and-conditions of the particular provider on their websites.

8. Does the medical alert system include “automatic fall detection”? Medical alert systems have come a long way in the last 5 years. Today’s advanced systems can detect when a user has fallen automatically. It’s all in the advanced algorithms developed by brilliant engineers and embedded into small devices which are saving lives everyday. These smart-systems can distinguish (in most cases) between when someone has actually fallen, and when someone has decided to sit down abruptly. “The big three” that (currently) offer automatic fall detection are Halo Monitoring Systems, Wellcore Personal Emergency Response, and Philips Lifeline with auto alert.

9. Am I purchasing these devices, or leasing them, or neither? Goes back to my prior suggestion about reading the fine print… Find out (ahead of time) whether the equipment is yours or not. What happens if you no longer require the equipment? What happens if you damage the equipment?

10. What is my total yearly cost? This gets down to “brass tax”… How much does this cost me each year (total cash outflow). Enough said.

How To Properly Utilize a Medical Alert System While Alone During a Medical Emergency

There are ways to use just about any device improperly. Lack of knowledge is typically one of the most common reasons why devices are improperly used. For devices that are created with the intent to be used in a medical emergency, such as a medical alert system, the difference between proper and improper use can be life or death.

Do you know how to react in a medical emergency? With or without a medical alert system in your home? One of the hardest things to do in a medical emergency is to not panic, but unfortunately it is one of the most common things people do in these types of situations. Panic is just the simplest response to an emergency because it is instinctual and it is done without thinking. People also panic because they have no idea what else to do! This is very sad because panicking is the most dangerous reaction a person could have in an emergency situation. People who panic can cause a lot more harm than good during a medical emergency. One of the best ways to keep yourself from panicking during a medical emergency is to know how to handle one, especially for when you are all by yourself. Here are some great tips to help you know how to handle a medical emergency and get through it in the safest way possible.

Press Your Medical Alert Button
For the most part, since you have equipped your home with a medical alert system, you can easily call for help by hitting your medical alert button located on your medical alert bracelet, necklace or pendant. This will automatically dial a care center where a trained help advisor will be on the line in just seconds, ready to call your family members, friends, neighbors or send emergency assistance to help you with any medical emergency. The help advisor will also stay on the line with you until help arrives. However, if you are out of your home, or maybe you have unfortunately not invested in a medical alert system, you will need to call 911. In cases where you are alone, reaching the phone may be difficult to do if you are injured after a fall and you are unable to move. That is why a medical alert system is very valuable to have, especially during a medical emergency when you are all by yourself.

Some people don’t call 911 first because they are trying to assess the situation, and not bother 911 if the emergency is not that dire. This can cause the person to lose valuable time that is necessary for helping them survive the situation. Do not wait to call 911 or press your medical alert button. Even if the emergency turns out to not be that serious, it could have been, and hesitation is another enemy of medical emergencies.

If Physically Injured, Try Not to Move
Many times when people fall, they try very hard to get themselves back up or move around to attempt to find a comfortable position. This is the absolute worst thing a person can do in the case of a medical emergency when a fall is involved. You may not realize, but you may have a neck or spinal cord injury. Moving can cause even more harm and possibly cause you to become paralyzed.

If you have a medical alert system in your home as you should, you will be able to call for help with such minimal movement because you will only need to move your hand to press the medical alert button on your medical alert bracelet, pendant or necklace. Not having to move much to call for help during a medical emergency in which you are alone is a very important aspect of trying to maintain mobility after the fall.

If you do not have a medical alert system and need to try to get to a phone, you run the risk of injuring yourself further. If you have nearby neighbors, try to shout for help and hope someone hears you. Otherwise, you can either wait until someone finally comes, or risk injuring yourself further by trying to move and get to a phone to call 911.

Keep Medication With You
Some people take many medications that can help them immediately in the event of a medical emergency. Obviously, sticking ten different pill bottles into your pockets will never be practical, but keeping a small pill case in your pocket with a few of each important pill in it is good practice just in case of a medical emergency. This way, you can have the medication you need in seconds.

When you are alone, you can not exactly ask anyone to get your medication for you, so if you collapse due to a issue that one of your medications can fix, the pill case in your pocket will be your best friend. However, if you have not prepared for this situation, a medical alert system can act as another person in your home and call medical personnel to help you promptly. Without a medical alert system, it will be difficult to tell how long you might be without your medication, or if you will even survive the situation.

Medical emergencies can happen at any moment, even when you are alone. It is vital that you prepare yourself before they happen and not after the fact. Being knowledgeable about how to handle a medical emergency will be the best way to prepare yourself to combat one. Having a medical alert system in the home will even further help the situation since it basically acts as another person that can help you get the help you need.