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More Medical Alert System Questions

medical alert system questionsKathy G. asked some great medical alert system questions after reading our list of top questions you should ask before buying a medical alert system.  I thought they were worthy of their own post, so we've copied her medical alert system questions right here (along with the answers).  As always, if you have further clarifications based on your own experience or wish to continue the conversation, please engage in our comments section below.  A rich dialog about medical alert systems can end up benefiting a great many families in need.  Special thanks to Kathy G., and here you go!

1. Is there a detailed diagram of how the medical alert system is connected? I don't have a diagram, but here is a nice tutorial on the typical components of a traditional (land-line based) medical alert system, and how they work: https://www.medicalalertadvice.com/resources/how-medical-alert-systems-work/. This is NOT an endorsement of this provider or their products, but they provide a nice example.

2. How does the signal travel from the button to the call center? For a land-line based medical alert system, the pendant uses a specific communication frequency to the base unit. The base unit then dials the medical alert provider's call center. The call center usually attempts to communicate (via the base unit) with the user, and if there is no response they dispatch a predetermined responder (ambulance or family member). For a cellular based medical alert system the mobile unit contacts the call center directly, and they dispatch as described above. The base units for the cellular based medical alert devices usually act as charging stations.

3. What is a DSL Filter and where is it placed? (per wikipedia) “A DSL filter or microfilter is an analog low-pass filter installed between analog devices (such as telephones or analog modems) and a plain old telephone service (POTS) line, in order to prevent interference between such devices and a digital subscriber line (DSL) service operating on the same line.” These accessories are very common since nearly every cable/phone company has moved from analogue to digital services. I believe these accessories (if needed) are inserted into the line prior to entering your land-line plugin area. Here is a picture of a DSL filter.

4. What is the difference between power cord and signal cord? I'm not sure what signal cord is referring to, but it may simply refer to the medical alert system's antennae. The power cord connects your base unit to the wall socket.

5. What does “range” refer to? The typical range of a traditional medical alert system is around 600-800 feet. This is a radius around the base unit, and depends on a number of factors including penetration through walls, signal interference (with other gadgets), etc. This range issue has led to the growing popularity of cellular based medical alert systems which have no range issues (other than the wireless signal from the carrier).

6. Does a doctor have to sign for a medical alert system? No.  A doctor does not have to sign anything. If your insurance provider covers this type of thing, you may need a doctor's order, but this is a rare exception.

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