What is Medical Alert Monitoring & PERS?
Often times you’ll see the term Medical Alert Monitoring (MAM) and Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS) used interchangeably, which is fine for our purposes as they both refer to a medical alert systems that allow you to request emergency assistance with the press of a button.
These medical alert systems include three separate components: a radio transmitter, communication console (typically connected to your home’s landline telephone to communicate with the central monitoring station in case of an emergency) and the monitoring station itself, which is staffed 24/7 with professional operators to provide you with the assistance you need during an emergency
How Do Medical Alerts & PERS Work?
When the user of a medical alert system experiences an emergency, all they need to do is press the alert button to initiate the system. Using radio frequencies a signal is sent from the pendant, necklace or bracelet to the communication console (or base station).
When the base station receives a signal from the panic button, it initiates a phone call to the central monitoring through your phone line. Once the call connects, the trained emergency response attendant will assess the situation with the user.
If it is an emergency situation the operator then send alerts to the user’s family or caretakers as well as contacting local emergency services such as 911 to have the necessary emergency personnel dispatched.
Who Uses PERS & Medical Alert Systems?
With almost 90 percent of today’s seniors preferring to live in their own home instead of an assisted-living facility, family members are faced with a dilemma: how to honor their loved ones wishes and provide the highest quality of life during their twilight years while making sure they are doing everything they can to ensure the security and safety of their loved ones.
In many cases, a Personal Emergency Response Systems (or medical alert system) offers an ideal solution to allow a senior to maintain their independence while providing family with the comfort of knowing if an accident was to occur, they would receive instant notification and emergency personnel and professionals would act immediately.
Who Can Benefit from MAM/PERS?
Everyone! While Senior Citizens are the primary market for medical alert systems, as the National Council on Aging has reported that one in three adults over the age of 65 will experience a fall or other medical emergency. Other individuals, such as those suffering a prolonged illness, disability or other form of incapacitation can benefit from having a medical alert system with a simple device capable of providing life-saving response times of medical personnel.
Even those in seemingly perfect health can benefit from having the ability to send a distress signal to the monitoring center when they are alone or unable to reach their phone or home’s security system control panel.
Should You Get A Medical Alert System?
If you or a member of your family is at risk for suffering an injury that would prevent them from reaching a phone, then the answer is yes.
For living situations where there is already a home security system, you may want to contact your provider to see if they offer a medical alert device. For many, this is a relatively inexpensive way to add an extra layer of safety to the home. In addition, there are several providers whose sole focus is on personal medical safety monitoring.
Regardless of whether you get a stand-alone medical alert system or add a panic pendant to your existing security system, you need to understand the features, capabilities and limitations before you decide. Make sure you understand the system and what makes it the right option for you or your loved one.
What To Look For In A MAM/ PERS Provider
Things To Consider
Find out whether the system works nationally, regionally or only locally. Will the device will work outside your home – and outside the US if you intend to travel with it extensively?
Ask the provider what the alert system needs to function. Some pendants works with an existing security system while others require their own base station or console.
Some medical alert systems include additional features such as fall detection to send an alert even if you can’t press the button which can be invaluable to many users.
Make sure you understand how to setup the system and whether or not you or the intended user will be able to setup, maintain and use the system. Ease-of-use is critical.
Important Questions to Ask
“How is the device monitored?”
Some systems offer connect with a 24/7 monitoring station with trained employees. Others act more like walkie-talkies and will connect you to emergency personnel or signal local 911 dispatchers. Depending on what your needs are this feature may determine which device is best for you and your family.
“Is the monitoring station accredited? What is their training process?”
If a monitoring center is used, find out if it has industry accreditations such as being UL-Listed and operates on a 24/7 schedule. You may also want to find out about the training program provided to operators before their able to answer emergency calls.
“How quickly do you respond to emergencies?”
Ask the representative about the monitoring station’s average response time once the alert has been triggered. In an emergency, every second counts so it’s important to know how long it will take for the monitoring station to respond and act.
“What happens if I move?”
If you move, will the system work with the same response center? Find out if the system’s response time will be the same if you move to a different area. If not, find out if the company will assist in helping you find another monitoring company to take over the service of your medical alert system.
“What happens if the equipment stops working?”
“How much will a system cost me?”
Find out what your upfront cost will be for your medical alert system as well as what you will need to spend on a monthly basis for the monitoring service – and what features and functionality you receive for the money you spend.
There’s a lot to consider when deciding on the right personal emergency alert system, but, we thought we could make it a little easier by detailing one of the best providers in the industry so you could see what you should expect. Then when you compare the other companies. You’ll have a benchmark to see if they measure up.
Example of A Good Provider: Medical Guardian
Medical Guardian is our 2016 LifeSaver Award winner. This award is reserved for the MAM or PERS provider who best demonstrates the professionalism, integrity and reliability that customers should expect from a company they are entrusting with their safety. To determine the LifeSaver award winner, our experts conducted in-depth research and reviews of the top providers in the MAM and PERS market. They analyzed and assessed each providers’ technology, equipment, features, installation & setup process, as well as ease-of-use and other important usability factors.
In addition, we reviewed the history and overall reputation of each company and individual consumer feedback culled from reviews and customer testimonials. Our experts identified the best of the top providers and selected the company that ranked highest overall.
With a dedicated focus on the MAM and PERS space, and their reputation for providing high quality equipment backed by unrivaled customer service, Medical Guardian was the clear winner.
Medical Guardian best exemplifies the qualities expected from a medical alert service company. If you are interested in a MAM/ PERS system we strongly recommend you consider Medical Guardian. We’ve provided additional information about Medical Guardian below so you have a benchmark of what to look for when considering a medical alert system.
About Medical Guardian
Founded by Geoff Gross after his grandmother experienced several falls while at home, he started the company in his garage. After selling his first 2,500 units and speaking with countless seniors and parents, reinforced his belief in the need and importance of the device he had developed to help give family members peace of mind that their loved ones were protected in the event of an emergency. Over the past ten years, the company has grown into one of the best known providers in the market by continuously focusing on their success and placing their customers’ needs first.
The company’s goal is to make personal emergency response systems available for everyone by maintaining affordability and reliability. Whether being used for those suffering seizures or strokes and heart attacks or limited mobility and risk of falls, Medical Guardian believes that their product helps saves lives and treats each customer as a member of their own family.
The Medical Guardian System combines the latest technologies developed over the past thirty years to be reliable and simple ensuring the equipment works when clients’ need the pendant most. During an emergency, confusion and panic can set it, so the device was designed to operate with three simple steps:
- Press the button: An alert is immediately sent to your monitoring center, signaling you are in an emergency situation.
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- Speak to an Operator: Using two-way voice technology, the operator will discuss the emergency and review your record of contacts, doctors and medical conditions.
- Help is one the way: Depending on your preference and the nature of the emergency, the operator will contact and dispatch the appropriate personal immediately to assist you during the emergency.
Important Aspects of Medical Guardian
Portable & Nationwide
Not only is Medical Guardian available to customers in every state — including Alaska and Hawaii, but it is completely portable. This allows you to use the medical alert system during vacations and visits out of town, giving you protection no matter where you go.
No Upfront Cost
Medical Guardian makes it easy for new customers to get medical alert service. New customers lients willdon’t not have to pay for their equipment, or to have it shipped to their home. Medical Guardian also won’t charge customers an activation fee like other companies may do.
Certified Call Center
Medical Guardian’s monitoring center maintains the most stringent industry guidelines with CSAA 5-Diamond Certification, UL-Listing and DoD clearance to ensure you or your loved one will never suffer an emergency without help readily available.
Medical Guardian Equipment
Medical Guardian offers four different types of PERS to best meet the varying needs of their clients. Whether you or your loved one needs a medical alert system for the home or one that will allow the user to enjoy medical alert service when they travel, Medical Guardian has a cost-effective, high quality solution.
Classic Guardian ($29.95/mo):
An in-home system that plugs into land-line telephone jack and provides a range of 1,300 feet and includes a 32-hour backup battery
Home Guardian ($34.95/mo):
Wireless in-home system that includes fall detection technology and has a range of 600 feet with a 30-hour backup battery included.
Mobile Guardian ($39.95/mo):
This GPS enabled solution protects you while home and away with cellular-based GPS and a range of 350-feet with 24-hour backup battery included.
Premium Guardian ($49.95/mo):
Featuring the most advanced technology in the industry and with fall detection available, the transmitter can be worn comfortably and has unlimited range with a 36-hour battery backup.
Pros & Cons of Medical Guardian
- Free shipping and equipment
- No activation fee
- Easy to install and simple to use with a large button
- Long lasting pendant battery
- Monthly Quarterly and Annual Pricing Options
- No long term contracts
- 24/7 phone support
- Accredited business with the BBB maintaining an A+ rating.
- No carbon monoxide or smoke sensors currently available
- Limited range for Home Guardian System
Before you decide whether you or a member of your family needs a personal panic pendant, take the time to carefully consider all the options available. Many of today’s home security systems offer a simple device that can be included in the overall system features but may lack some of the advancements of those focused entirely to provide an on-personal safety device. Research other providers and compare what they have to offer to Medical Guardian, a well-known leader in the space and a worthwhile consideration, and investment for many of their customers.