What Is a Medical Alert Device?

  • March 27, 2023
What Is a Medical Alert Device?
A medical alert device gives you the confidence to age in the comfort of your home. Also called personal emergency response systems (PERS), these devices make it simple and uncomplicated to connect to highly trained life safety consultants in case of a fall or another urgent situation where you may not have access to a phone.

How Do Medical Alert Systems Work?

Your medical alert device connects to an entire system designed to keep you safe and give you peace of mind. While landline medical alert systems are the more traditional form of PERS, mobile systems are becoming increasingly popular.

Landline Systems

Most at-home medical alert systems have two main components. The first is a console. This base unit plugs into a wall outlet and telephone jack and connects you to highly trained operators through your landline.

The second and most essential part of your landline system is the help button. This simple component syncs with your console and can be worn around your wrist, belt loop, or neck. A single press sends out a signal that sets your personal emergency response system to work.

Mobile Systems

There are also mobile medical alert devices for people who want to feel secure while on the go. This type of medical alert system does not require a traditional landline base station. Instead, it works with cellular networks to offer greater flexibility.

Most mobile systems include a cellular base unit or a portable mobile device and feature a help button. When pushed, the alerts send out a signal to call an emergency operator no matter where your day takes you — inside or outside your home.

Help in 3 Easy Steps

Whether you choose a landline device or a mobile alert, three easy steps summarize how medical alert devices work:

  1. Press the button: Medical alert devices have unmistakable buttons connecting you with a highly trained emergency operator within seconds of a crisis. Fall detection may also be available, which automatically sends a call if it senses a fall.
  2. Confirm your situation: Once connected with your 24/7 monitoring center, you can talk to a skilled professional. These life safety consultants receive specific training to assess your situation and take immediate action.
  3. Receive the help you need: Quick responses matter. From emergency personnel to members in your care circle, you will get the exact type of help you need.

Common Medical Device Features

While medical alert devices are constantly evolving and improving, three essential parts of today's medical alert systems remain:

  1. Medical Alert: This key component connects to your monitoring center through your landline or cellular network. Some plug into the wall and your landline phone jack, while others are wireless with rechargeable batteries and charging stations.
  2. Help buttons: Also called call buttons, this feature is a battery-operated remote transmitter equipped with an easily pressed button. At-home systems allow you to wear an additional button or pendant that can be pressed and send a wireless signal about 1,300 feet from your console. The buttons are wearable and resemble a necklace or wristband. Others can be mounted in your home and on your walls. Others work as a single mobile unit that includes a help button that is worn daily.
  3. Monitoring center: Monitoring centers are on-call and available 24/7 every day of the year. Trained operators are ready and waiting to obtain your on-file information, assess your needs and send the type of help you require.

Other Medical Alert System Features

Beyond the essential three components of a medical alert device, many companies offer other system features to improve your experience and provide even more peace of mind, such as:

  • Fall detection: Sensors in your wearable help button can detect if you slip or fall and contact your monitoring center even if you don't push the button to call for help.
  • GPS locating: GPS tracking allows a loved one or emergency services to accurately pinpoint your location.
  • Customer portal: The customer portal enables the wearer to manage their devices and billing information from any location. The wearer can also share information with family or contact customer care.

Who Uses Medical Alert Devices?

If you plan to age in place, a medical alert device provides added security for you and your loved ones, giving you peace of mind that help is always just a button push away.

Here are just a few reasons you may want to use a medical alert device:

  • Falling or accidents: Older adults experience over 36 million falls each year. Falling is one of this age group's top health concerns. Medical alert devices provide freedom and protection from falls and other common incidents like vertigo, throwing out your back, or bathing accidents.
  • Managing chronic conditions: You should always have a plan in case of emergency if you struggle with a chronic illness. A PERS offers an extra layer of security for conditions like pulmonary disease, diabetes, severe allergies, or congestive heart failure.
  • Non-emergencies: Even in non-emergency situations, you can contact your monitoring center. If you feel unwell, get stuck, or lose your way, your monitoring center can contact your loved ones or others to ensure you receive the best assistance.

How to Choose a Medical Alert Device

Before deciding on a PERS, consider which features are most important to you. You may want a specific feature, like GPS location, or you may have budget concerns. Read on to see five tips on how to choose a medical alert system that's best for you:

  1. Choose between monitored or unmonitored medical alerts: Monitored medical alert companies have life safety consultants standing by to answer your call in seconds. With unmonitored services, pressing the button sends the call to one pre-programmed number like 911 or family members. 
  2. Ensure your medical alert company is trustworthy: Your PERS provider should provide transparent information about every aspect of your contract — including fees, return policies, and other details. Be sure to ask questions. 
  3. Check out the company's reputation: Read about the company from real people on trusted review sites like Google reviews or testimonials on the company website from real people. This feedback can help you compare your options and learn about others' experiences with the devices.
  4. Explore the device styles and optional features: Company consultants can walk you through the features offered. These professionals can help you determine whether they have a medical alert device that suits your lifestyle.

Medical Guardian Has All Your Medical Alert Device Needs

Medical Guardian is an industry-leading medical alert company specializing in emergency support, monitoring services, and high-quality, affordable products. We want to give you peace of mind knowing that the help you need is just one button push away.

If you want more information, please reach out to our team or take our product quiz.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Medical Guardian is a leading provider of innovative medical alert systems that empower people to live a life without limits.

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