A medical alert system, or a medical alarm as it is sometimes called, is a relatively new innovation that has changed the game when it comes to caring for the disabled and elderly. It’s a device that someone can have on their person or nearby at all times in case of some kind of medical emergency.
When activated, usually by button, the device will connect the patient to a nearby call center who will then be able to communicate with the patient and contact a medical facility. When you hear some of the statistics regarding elders suffering from falls or medical emergencies and not receiving attention straight away, it’s pretty shocking.
The mortality rate for people who are incapacitated for more than 12 hours is 5 times higher than those seen to immediately. And that’s a very real thing that happens to those that don’t have a medical alert system on their person at the time of the incident. The benefits are hard to argue with, so before we discuss how to make the right decision when choosing a medical alarm, here’s a few of those benefits:
The older that you get, the more likely you are to have to rely on other people. That’s just the way things go. You become less capable of doing the things that you were able to do when you were younger and you are more at risk of accidents and health problems. This can understandably be a tough pill to swallow. We all want to be able to live freely for as long as possible.
A medical alert system can help with this a lot. You can still live alone and take care of yourself but if something does go wrong you have the means of taking care of it. It eliminates a lot of the danger of something happening and you being left incapacitated with no help.
Peace of Mind
Something else that affects a lot of older people is stress and worry. The idea that something could happen to you that you have no control over. This is worse for people who live alone. They can feel extremely helpless and at the mercy of their own declining health.
Stress is bad for everyone, but it’s especially problematic for older people. A medical alert system can set your mind at ease. And this doesn’t just apply to the patient themselves. The patients loved ones would worry constantly about them too if they didn’t have an alarm. This is peace of mind for everyone involved in the situation.
Easy to Use
There’s nothing complicated about the system at all. Provided you get one from a reputable brand, you shouldn’t have any trouble using the device. They’re designed so that patients can get into contact with the medical services with the simple click of a button. Set up is easy too and you can usually have an operative from the company set it up for you if you’re not particularly tech-savvy.
The call center and the medical services will do the bulk of the work, so you can rest easy knowing that help is just a click away. So, how do you make the right choice when you are selecting a medical alert system? Here’s a few things to keep in mind:
It should be states first of all that this isn’t going to come cheap. There’s a lot that goes into the system and so it is going to be somewhat costly. Overall, I believe that the cost is worth it, but the price will vary from brand to brand, based on several different factors, and you have to decide which one is right for you.
Almost all of them will be contract based. Because it’s an ongoing service you will be expected to pay on a monthly or yearly basis. You might be offered a package which has a flat rate for a full year that will cost you less than what you would pay monthly.
This might not be the best choice for you. Depending on the circumstances, such as if the patient has a terminal condition and it’s unclear how long they will live, it may be too much. You could end up under contract for several months and paying for something that you don’t actually need.
It would be awful to be saddled with that extra cost after losing a loved one. You should also make sure that you are aware of all of the costs. There could be an installation fee, a shipping fee and a security deposit. Again these prices will vary depending on the brand and you should know the entire cost before you choose. Even if you are offered a contract which seems desirable, the extra costs may cause it to work out as more expensive than another option.
Call Centre Location and Reliability
The true quality of the service is going to the abilities of the call centre that responds to the medical alerts. First of all, you should make sure that the call centre is near where the patient lives and also has a connection with a nearby medical facility.
As well as that, you should ensure that the operators in the call centre are actually reliable and have the appropriate training. You can usually get a good sense of the reputation of these services by researching online. Review sites are usually good indicators, you could check a site such as yelp.com.
You need to know about things such as the response time of the service as well as how well the operators deal with unusual situations. I would also suggest that you contact the company and ask about what training the operators actually go through.
This is a lot different to a regular call centre because the operators essentially have a life in their hands. They need to be familiarized with an awful lot of medical knowledge so that they can actually react appropriately to each individual situation. This is also not really the job for someone who doesn’t handle pressure well and so the training needs to be rigorous enough to ensure that only those up to the task will get the job.
There’s a few extra things that can be added to these alert systems which are beneficial and you should decide whether or not you need a device that offers them. The first of these is something known as fall detection. It’s a pretty self-explanatory addition and it uses motion detectors to recognize when the patient falls over.
The possibility of falling is a big reason to have a medical alert system but without fall detection it doesn’t cover the chance of someone falling and rendering themselves unconscious. That can be a very serious situation that will require urgent medical attention. So if you or whoever the patient in question is is likely to fall, you should definitely consider this.
If the condition of the patient isn’t likely to cause a fall, then this might not be an essential. In addition, there is also location detection. This is for people who are still active enough to move around a little bit. Just because you do your own grocery shopping or go for regular walks, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be protected.
Something could still happen to you while you’re out and a medical alarm with GPS can cover you for that. If you aren’t going to be moving around at all, then there’s no need for this of course but for those that are outdoors more It should be something you think about.
There’s a lot to consider here and there are several different choices. You should also have a look at some medical alert system reviews to get a bit more information. Because of how much of a difference it will make to the patient’s life, it’s definitely worth putting in the time and research to make the right decision.
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