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Choosing a medical alert system can be a daunting task. That’s why you need to do your homework before making a decision on which medical alert company will earn your business.
Who will be monitoring your medical alert system?
Having a quality monitoring center is the key to having a quality medical alert system. Many of the larger medical alert companies will tell you that it’s important to have your own in-house monitoring center while many of the smaller to medium size companies will tell you it’s better to have an outside monitoring center. The truth is, there are pros and cons to both. When making your decision, ask to speak with a care specialist who works for the monitoring center. Are they friendly? Are the professional? Are they knowledgeable? What kind of training have they gone through?
Remember, companies are only as good as the people working for them.
Is the monitoring center UL Listed?
For more than 100 years, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) has been writing standards for safety. Make sure you ask if the monitoring center is UL certified. Remember, you are trusting your life or the life of a loved one by the monitoring center’s ability to have emergency medical personnel arrive quickly and with the patient’s medical history.
Did your medical alert company ask you for enough medical history?
When you or your aging senior parent has an emergency at home, it can be traumatic for them waiting for help to arrive. It’s important to know that the monitoring center will have two care specialists handle each emergency call. One care specialist stays on the line with the the person in need and provides reassurance and comfort, while the second care specialist notifies EMS or a family member on the emergency contact list.
How does the monitoring center handle calls?
Some people are under the impression that calls are directly routed to 911 services instead of a monitoring center. While this may be true for some medical alert products, it is not generally the case. Monitoring centers have the unique ability to talk directly with the medical alert caller to ensure that the appropriate people are called for aid. Sometimes 911 dispatch is called and sometimes only a family member or friend are called. This is why it’s important to have a care specialist on the other end of the line who has a complete medical profile of the person using the system.
How much does a medical alert system cost? And what is the cancellation policy?
Choosing a medical alert company is no different than interviewing a home caregiver. Always find out upfront what the monthly costs and fees are. Never sign a long term contract. Most medical alert providers offer a month to month subscription for their services.
Medical alert systems typically cost between $25 and $40 per month. It’s standard for a company to charge one to six months up front for service and then on a month to month basis. Again, the quality of the service is what’s important. Are you comfortable with the people on the other end of the phone?
Installation for most medical alert systems is generally very simple and does not require anyone to come out to the home. If you can plug in a phone line and a power cord, you can install one yourself.
Service and Accountability
Online reviews can give you a false sense of security. Many companies post their own reviews of their own products. Begin with the Better Business Bureau and doing your own online research. You can type in a search for “company name” + complaints. Most all companies will have complaints from time to time but it is how they handle these complaints that determine it a mediocre company or an outstanding company.
What are the customer service and technical support hours of operation?
It’s impossible to know when you or a loved one may need to place an emergency call for assistance; therefore, a monitoring center needs to be available 24/7. No exceptions on this one.
How reliable is the medical alert equipment?
Different medical alert companies are always advertising longer battery life and longer range than their competitors. The truth is that most all of the medical alert units are made by the same manufacturers. The only difference is how they are branded and how they are advertised.
If there is one piece of information I want you to take away with you after reading this article, it’s the fact that all medical alert companies are not created equal. Do your research. Talk with the customer service representatives and make an informed decision. Don’t be fooled by slick talking salespeople. If it sounds too good to be true it usually is.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us directly at 1-800-595-0718. One of our care specialist will be happy to help you.