Personal Alert Systems

Dr. Purushothaman
September 12, 2013

Even when seniors have trustworthy, responsible caregivers, there is still the possibility of injury or harm due to falling, medication errors or problems that occur because of diminished mental capacity. There are many different types of personal alert or alarm systems that can help patients who are living in home health care situations. These devices can give their caregivers and families a sense of relief that there are backup plans in worst case scenarios.
A common type of home safety unit is an emergency medical alert system. The basic idea behind every system is similar: seniors have 24 hour a day access to a customer helpline by pushing a button on their personal device. Many of these devices can be worn around the neck like a necklace so they are always within reach; this can be especially helpful if a patient falls and cannot reach a phone. The personal device, also called a panic button, is connected to a base unit, which is then plugged into a telephone line. By pushing the button, the patient is connected to a responder who can alert the proper emergency team or a family member to help the injured patient.
Anyone who uses a medical alert system must make sure that it is always in working order with fully operational batteries. Some medical alert devices are waterproof, so the patient can wear them in the shower without fear of being unconnected to help, if necessary.
Many health care professionals advise the use of medical alert systems as an additional precaution against situations in which the patient cannot get help. Cell phones and cordless telephones are not always convenient and aren’t enough to count on for protection.
Another type of personal care system is a medication dispensing service. Most seniors take a number of different pills per day and can become confused about when to take them or if they already took their daily pills. Some pills are also specific to morning or evening. For an automated machine, the pills are loaded into the dispenser, a reminder alarm is sounded when it is time to take the pills, and the machine will dispense the pills at the correct time. These machines also make it easy to see if seniors are missing any doses of their medications.
There are several reputable companies who specialize in personal alert systems. Consumers should investigate which products would be the most beneficial for their personal situations before purchasing.

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