3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a Medical Alert System

Written by Nicole Scheidl

March 22, 2019

While it’s never going to be easy to watch one of your loved ones start to deteriorate over time, modern technology and medicine can certainly help lighten the weight on your shoulders.


If you have someone in your life who is suffering from something that makes it potentially hazardous for them to be alone, a medical alarm is one way to increase their safety.


Also known as a medical alert system, this is a handy little device that the elderly or disabled can always keep on their person and use to alert others if a serious medical issue pops up.


It’s mainly for those who will be by at home by themselves for a significant portion of time and it has a button on it which will connect to an operator.


This operator will then alert the medical services or nearby family members. There will be operators working 24/7, ensuring that help will always be available when it’s needed.


While there’s several different brands and the specifics differ, they are all small and many can be strapped to someone’s arm.


They can be used in the case of a fall or if your loved one feels like something more serious is happening such as a stroke or a heart attack.


So if you think someone you love needs one of these, you could take a look at alarms.org here to see which would be your best option.


Before you do that however, there’s a few things you might want to think about. Here’s 3 questions that you should ask yourself before buying a medical alert system.

Is the call centre reliable?


Every different company will be operating from a different place. The alarm will connect the user to an operator at a call centre and you should have an idea of where this is.


These call centres will all have an easy connection to hospitals and medical centres and they’ll be able to contact whichever one is closest to your loved one.


So on paper this is an amazing service, but the true quality of it is heavily reliant on the abilities of the operators.


Responding to medical alert systems is not an easy job and it’s not one suited to the faint-hearted either.


When an operator answers a distress call, they essentially have the life of the person who’s called in their hands.


How the react to that is extremely important. They need to be able to determine the severity of the problem and what is the best course of action.


Whether they need to just contact a medical professional, if there’s any instructions that they should give to the patient, and how urgent of a problem it actually is.


If the staff hasn’t been trained in these procedures, then it could be disastrous. Before you buy a medical alert system, learn as much about the company behind it as possible.


Seek out reviews from reputable sources and find out about their response time, the quality of their staff and if you can, look for information on how they train said staff.


You don’t want to spend money on something that will end up not pulling through in a serious situation. Be thorough in your investigation of the call centre.

How much will it cost?


It will come as no surprise to you that these things really aren’t all that cheap. Considering the service offered though, that’s understandable.


You’ll be buying more than just the device itself. You’ll probably have to pay an installation fee, as well as a shipping fee and a security deposit.


And then you will more than likely be on some kind of monthly program. In most cases it shouldn’t be any more than $30 per month.


Here’s where things might get a little bit complicated for you. A lot of the services will offer discounts if you go for longer contracts.


So if the month-to-month price was $30 you might be able to get a 6 month membership that would even out at $26 per month.


No one likes to think about this, but the fact is that if something happens you may not actually need it for the full 6 months.


If you are going to go for the longer contract with the cheaper option, make sure that it has some kind of return policy.


It seems unethical on the part of the company but it does happen that people buy these medical alarms on a year contract, their loved one dies earlier and then they’re stuck in the contract.


Make sure that you factor in the overall price so that you can make an informed decision on which company to choose from.


And also make sure that you go through the terms of the contract with utmost care to avoid an unfortunate situation.

Do I need Fall Detection?


If someone falls while they have the alert system on their person, they can use it to contact the call centre.


But this won’t be useful if someone falls and knocks themselves unconscious. And that’s a much more serious situation which is going to need more urgent attention.


This is where fall detection comes in. It’s a system that detects a sudden fall using an accelerometer and alerts the call centre.


The call centre will then connect to the patient and if they get no response they’ll contact the emergency services.


Not every medical alert system will come with this particular service and a lot of them will offer it at an increased price.


This is of course because of the extra equipment and manufacturing necessary to add the feature.


So you need to consider whether you actually need this. If your loved one is in a condition that makes it likely for them to fall, then you are better off having it.


If you’re buying the medical alarm for someone who’s condition doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll fall, it might not be an essential.


People who are suffering from dementia or who are elderly but mobile. Even in these cases however, it may not be the worst idea.


If they have a heart attack or a stroke and it causes them to be unable to activate the machine, the fall detection might catch it anyway.


Everyone’s situation is different so try to determine what is the best choice for you.  




So just be wary of the fact that there may be certain other things you need to do in addition to buying the alarm itself, and there might be a better option for your personal situation.


It is a great invention and it’s worth putting the time into ensuring that you make the right choice here.

You May Also Like…


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *