What is a Home Medical Alarm?

Article Details
  • Written By: Dorothy Bland
  • Edited By: Jacob Harkins
  • Last Modified Date: 07 November 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
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A home medical alarm is a system designed to ensure safety and security in the home by providing an alert button and round the clock monitoring so medical help is always available. Medical alarm systems are often used by individuals suffering from serious medical conditions and by seniors. These devices allow individuals with disability or limited mobility to maintain their independence and ensure that if an emergency does occur, help can be quickly reached.

Most home medical alarm systems contain two main parts, a base unit and a personal help button worn somewhere on the body. The personal help button may be a medical wrist alarm or a pendant worn around the neck. These devices generally only contain one button and are usually waterproof so they can be worn in the shower or bathtub. The base unit for the medical alarm may feature a two-way intercom and is usually hooked up through a telephone line. The personal help button is designed to only work when in the range of the base unit, for most systems the range is several hundred feet.


Typically, in an emergency, the wearer will press the panic button and a signal will be sent to the base unit on the home medical alarm. Depending on how the unit is designed and the company providing monitoring services, several possible steps may occur. Some base units will send out a loud signal that only plays for a short time, typically less than a minute. During this time, the wearer can cancel the emergency if they pressed the button by accident.

Most base units feature a hands-free intercom. If the emergency is not canceled the unit will call the monitoring service and connect with a live dispatch agent who will attempt to establish contact with the subscriber to find out the type of help that is needed.

Depending on the response received, the live dispatch agent will notify paramedics or contact neighbors, family and friends. Most companies will ask the subscriber to prepare a list of contacts when first setting up the home medical alarm service and the subscriber can even determine in what order these numbers are called. To convey all necessary information to paramedics, information on allergies, medical conditions and prescriptions is also generally collected and provided en rote if paramedics are called. After calling the necessary contacts, the dispatch agent may continue to stay on the line to monitor the situation until help arrives.

For individuals seeking a comprehensive solution, there are home medical alarm systems that respond to health emergencies as well as fire, smoke, carbon monoxide leaks and other life threatening situations. Some senior medical alarm systems are also designed to cover non-emergency related situations such as having someone on the line while navigating a flight of stairs. Although systems are available that only focus on personal emergency solutions, emergency medical help may also be available from companies that provide burglar alarm systems.



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