3 Types of Medical Alert Systems and How They Work [Promoted Post]

Medical alert systems can be an important lifeline for elderly people living at home, people with life-threatening illnesses, or to ensure the safety and well-being of vulnerable loved ones or family members.

However, if you’ve never used one before you won’t know what to look for and the different functions can be confusing.

Without a good understanding of medical alert devices, you could end up with a system that doesn’t meet your needs. This guide will help make your medical alert system shopping faster, easier, and more productive.

What is a Medical Alert System?

A medical alert system can be used at home or on the go. They provide emergency monitoring and ensure the safety of vulnerable people.

A medical alert system is usually made up of two parts: the equipment and an on-call, 24/7 monitoring service.

How Do They Work?

Most systems have a base unit that is plugged into a central place in the home. It connects wirelessly to wearable devices or wall-mounted sensors. With a mobile system, there will also be a charger and rechargeable battery.

Typically, there will be a wearable help button that the user presses in an emergency. This button communicates with the base unit. The button could be worn around the user's neck as a necklace or on the wrist as a bracelet or watch. It might also be worn on a belt loop or in a pocket.

The second part of the medical alert system is the monitoring service. When the emergency button is pressed, the user is quickly connected with a trained professional at the monitoring center. Some wearable devices also have a built-in fall detection sensor. Should the sensor detect a fall, it sends an automatic alert to the monitoring center.

What is Fall Detection?

Fall detection is also called automatic fall detection. It’s a type of technology that is built into a medical alert system device. The technology senses when someone has fallen. The sensors are called accelerometers and they detect motion.

When motion is detected it can identify whether the wearer has fallen and immediately send an alert to the medical alert company’s monitoring station.

Ambient sensors are also an option for fall detection. The Wi-Fi-enabled sensors are mounted on a wall rather than worn on the body. The user activates the sensor with their voice rather than a button. These sensors will be installed in high-risk fall areas of the home such as the bathroom or stairs.

As soon as the monitoring station staff receives the notification of a fall, they will first try to reach the user to get more information and determine the next steps. If the staff can’t reach the user, they will immediately call emergency medical services and if necessary, send a notification to the designated caregivers.

Different Types of Medical Alert Systems

There are two main types of monitored systems:

At-Home System

This type of system is ideal for seniors with chronic diseases, mobility issues, or those at risk of falling. They can be used when a person is living independently or with in-home support.

The base station is generally set up in a central area of the home and the help button is worn around the user's wrist or neck. It might also be placed somewhere on the wall that’s easy to reach. The connection to the monitoring station can be cellular or landline.

Additional features and advanced technology may be possible. These might allow caregivers to monitor users. They might also include motion detectors, medication reminders, and home temperate and air sensors.

On-the-go System

This type of system is ideal for more active seniors. Whenever they leave their home, it provides a quick and easy way for them to call for help in an emergency.

There are two types of on-the-go systems:

GPS Mobile Device

A GPS mobile device uses the medical alert company’s cellular network. The system might be an all-in-one device or be a separate help button that is worn around the user's neck, clipped to their belt, or carried in a pocket or purse.

Specialized on-the-go Devices

Some companies that provide medical alert devices offer specialized on-the-go systems. These might include smartwatches and smartphones.

These can be a great option if the older adult is more comfortable using advanced technology. It’s also a more discreet, fashion-forward solution if that is what’s required.

Unmonitored Medical Alert System

With an unmonitored medical alert system, a call is sent directly to 911 when the user presses the emergency button. Alternatively, it can send a call to their predesignated emergency contact.

This may be a better option for a senior who only needs basic protection and who doesn’t want to pay the monthly monitoring fee. It might also be preferable for someone who prefers their loved ones to be their first point of contact should there be an emergency.
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