The folks at OneCall Medical Alert reached out to The Senior List on Twitter and asked us to share some information regarding one of our favorite topics. That topic: “How to Choose A Personal Emergency Response System” (also known as a medical alert system). They offer some good advice that’s worth sharing. Weather you’re choosing a mobile medical alert system or a traditional (in-home) style medical alert system, you’ll want to make sure that the provider can answer the following questions (special thanks to the folks at OneCall):
Choosing a Medical Alert System Provider
- Is the provider accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB)? The BBB’s mission is “to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust.” The BBB says they “see trust as a function of two primary factors – integrity and performance. Integrity includes respect, ethics and intent. Performance speaks to a business’s track record of delivering results in accordance with BBB standards and/or addressing customer concerns in a timely, satisfactory manner.” That said, there are a whole lot of businesses that have high ratings on the BBB, and just like any directory site you can’t take it as the gospel. You’ve go to look around at other reputable review sites like Angie’s List and (of course) The Senior List.
- Are you locked into a long-term contract? We agree with the folks at OneCall. Unless you absolutely trust the medical alert provider you decide to choose, don’t sign a long-term contract! There are plenty of reputable providers out there that don’t push these silly contracts. Companies like GreatCall, Philips Lifeline and OneCall are good examples of no-contract alert systems. (*Note that OneCall does require 3 months of prepaid service at activation.)
- Does the medical alert provider have multiple emergency call centers? This is probably a good question to ask, but more importantly how dependable is the call center? If you search around for medical alert system reviews, you’ll probably receive some feedback on this topic. OneCall says that you should also “ask where their emergency call center is located, if they have more than one emergency call center, and if a contingency plan is in place in case a call center is shut down” (because of a storm or other natural disaster). These are great questions!
- Is the system easy to set up and test? You’ll want to be clear on how to set up the device in your home, AND how to test it (on a regular basis). Medical alert systems are not doing you any good if they aren’t in good working order. Further inquiries need to be made regarding maintenance (batteries need to be tested and/or replaced,coverage area needs to be tested and retested, etc.).
- Does the provider have flexible payment options? Most top providers do have options (monthly, quarterly, annual) but regardless of your payment option, make sure you understand what the implications are if your loved one decides to leave the provider (for another), or is no longer in need of the medical alert system (perhaps they move into a care facility, or they pass away).
These are great questions and tips on choosing a medical alert system provider. We’d recommend these questions in conjunction with our popular post entitled Medical Alert Systems: The Top 10 Questions You Should Ask Before Buying.
Know Before You Go - It will save you one heck of a headache!