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Fall Detection FAQ's

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Frequently Asked Questions About Medical Alert Systems With Fall Deteciton

Automatic Fall Detection is an optional feature of our HOME and HOME & AWAY medical alert systems. Here are some of the common questions asked by new Medical Care Alert customers about how fall detection works. Please call us at 1-855-272-1010 and ask for a sales associate to answer all your questions.

Questions About Medical Alert Systems for Seniors with Fall Detection

What is automatic fall detection?

Automatic Fall Detection means the device worn by a subscriber can detect motion and initiate a signal to call our emergency response monitoring center without the user having to press the button. Automatic fall detection adds an additional layer of protection in the event the user is unable to press the button for themselves.

Pendants enabled with automatic fall detection use a combination of sensors and software to detect motion. When the sensors detect changes in motion that resemble a fall, the pendant will initiate a call to our emergency response center.
  • "HOME" Medical Alert Systems - Fall detection pendant is worn around the neck. For folks who want fall detection in and around the home. Pendant has 1,000 foot range from the base station. Cellular communication option available if there is no standard land-line telephone in the home.
  • "HOME & AWAY" Medical Alert Systems - For best results, wear the device as a pendant around the neck. In an emergency, speak directly into the pendant. Nationwide coverage with AT&T Wireless. Go anywhere in the USA with advanced technology combining fall detection algorithm and sensors, GPS location services and cellular communication in a small 2 ounce highly water-resistant pendant.

No. No fall detection system works correctly 100% of the time. Users are advised to press the button if they are able to.

Fall detection sensors and algorithms are calibrated to look for fall patterns which include speed, distance, angle, motion after the fall, and combinations of those patterns. They are also calibrated to not trigger false alarms for small motions like setting the button down on a table. As a result, fall detection is never considered to have a 100% guaranteed success rate.

Medical alert devices with fall detection may fail to work due to the sensitivity of sensors, the way the user is wearing the pendant, or due to battery and/or communication issues. This is why we stress that users press their button if they are able to when they need help, and not to wait for the device to initiate a call. Automatic fall detection medical alert systems have to operate within a tolerance that will be acceptable to the user; if the pendant is too sensitive to movement it will trigger false alarms, and if it's not sensitive enough it will only work under certain exact circumstances.

The pendant also needs to be worn correctly by the user, typically close to the body near the breast plate. Some fall detection pendants may be worn on the hip with a belt clip. Call us at 1-855-272-1010 to see which style fits you best.

In no circumstance can a medical alert with fall detection be worn on the wrist or carried in the pocket. In the case of a mobile medical alert system with fall detection, the device must be charged and in an area with good cellular coverage in order to send a signal to the emergency response center.

NOTE: No Fall detector can detect 100% of falls. If able, users should always push their help button when they need assistance. HOME & AWAY pendants requires daily charging and a strong AT&T Wireless cellular signal to initiate a call.

Fall detection is an optional feature of our HOME and HOME & AWAY medical alert systems, and costs $10.00 a month on top of your basic medical alert system monthly fee.

It might. The medical alert necklace with fall detection for the HOME system is designed to detect motion that resembles a fall. It is possible you will signal a false alarm if the pendant is dropped and bounces. If that happens, just let our operator know that you are not in need of help and that the fall detection pendant thought you had fallen when you dropped the button.

The fall detection sensors in the HOME & AWAY ELITE will evaluate movement for about 30 seconds after detecting a fall, before transmitting the data for comparison against a cloud-based "classifier" of thousands of actual fall patterns. This is when the system will determine if a drop or a fall has occurred. In the event of a false alarm, you can cancel the call by pressing the button twice and holding for 7 seconds. You may get a call from our emergency response center, in which case you may tell them to disregard the signal if you are not hurt or need help.

Four Pendant sensors gather potential fall data: two accelerometers, a magnetometer and a gyroscope. When the sensors detect a potential fall, the Pendant gathers additional data for up 10 seconds. It then sends data to the cloud-based “classifier” for analysis. If a fall pattern is identified, the ELITE Pendant will announce “a fall has been detected” and notify the emergency response center. This process takes 30-45 seconds.

The HOME system fall detection button utilizes BioSensic’s clinically and academically validated ActivePERS technology to provide accurate fall detection. When the algorithms determine a fall may have occurred, the LED begins to flash slowly. A few seconds later the LED will flash quicker. Within a few seconds the LED will turn on steady and a FALL ALERT signal is transmitted to the HOME System console. A red LED indicates low battery and green indicates a good battery. During the FALL ALERT signal transmission, the LED will always illuminate steady for approximately two seconds.

Note: Due to the many types of falls that can occur, the user should always press the HELP button whenever help is needed and not rely solely upon the determination of the fall detection algorithms.

The fall detection pendant may occasionally place a call to the emergency response monitoring center even if you have not fallen (a false-positive).

False-positives typically occur after activities of daily living that exhibit movement patterns similar to a fall. For example, quickly lying down onto a bed or getting into a car requires a rapid change in elevation and orientation. In these instances, the fall detection pendant sensors categorize these movement patterns as a fall and trigger the call. It is also common for younger, more active individuals to experience more false positives than older adults because this feature is calibrated to the motion activity of an older population.

If a false positive occurs, simply tell the operator at the emergency response monitoring center that you do not need assistance.

While it seems like dropping it would be a good way to test the fall detection feature, the parameters captured from a dropped or thrown device do not resemble those of a person who has fallen, and the classifier can tell the difference. The algorithms are based on data gathered from actual human falls that yield complicated motion activity not attainable in a drop or throw.

For best results, the fall detection button needs to be close to the body, preferably at chest level at the breast plate. Most folks will keep the pendant under their clothing, or tucked into a bra.

  • HOME System Fall Detection pendants are always worn around the neck as a pendant. Shower-safe, and includes a breakaway lanyard with magnetic clasp.
  • HOME & AWAY ELITE pendant can be worn at the waist using the belt clip or around the neck using the lanyard. If you choose to wear your fall detection pendant around your neck, please ensure that it remains close to your chest for best results; many users of medical alert systems for seniors tuck the lanyard and pendant under their clothing.
  • HOME & AWAY ULTRA pendant should be worn around the neck with the lanyard. The belt clip is not recommended for use with Fall Detection with the ULTRA.
  • HOME & AWAY PRIMO pendant should be worn around the neck with the lanyard. The PRIMO has the most sensitive fall detection feature of all the HOME & AWAY systems, so may be prone to false alarms. However, for users who don't mind this, or feel they need a more sensitive fall detection sensor, the PRIMO is a good option.

Yes. We encourage you to press the button any time you need help - don't wait for the fall detection sensors to decide if you need help or not if you are able to press the button yourself.

Remember you can press the emergency call button to get help in any situation - for police, fire, or medical emergency.

As a general rule, we recommend keeping a fall detection pendant 6-12 inches away from your pacemaker or defibilator. This often means the device should be worn on the hip - the HOME & AWAY ELITE is a good option for these folks.

Individuals with pacemakers or defibrillator should review their pacemaker or defibrillator materials regarding interaction with batteries, magnets and cell phones, and take the same precautions the materials recommend for this device.

If the user has a defibrillator they need to be careful to avoid having the magnet coming in contact with the pendant, especially if wearing the pendant at night. The HOME Fall Detection button may cause interference and customers must be careful, and check with their doctor.

All of our Fall Detection devices complies with Part 15 of FCC Rules and restrictions, including those for radiated emissions.

Some people have multiple members of the household who need protection (i.e. husband and wife). We can protect multiple people at the same residence, no extra charge for monitoring. The HOME Medical Alert System can accommodate up to 16 buttons. Just pay for the additional fall detection button if you need more than one.

Fall detection buttons can go off accidentally if there is sudden movement that resembles a fall. Just tell the operator that it is a false alarm and to disregard - everything is OK.

Medical Alert Lockbox

This is why we include a Lockbox at no charge with your Medical Care Alert system!

If the fall detection medical alert button initiates a call and we dispatch emergency services, we'll provide them with the location and 4-digit combination to your lockbox. When the door is locked, our free lockbox will allow EMS to enter with out breaking in.

The key lockbox is a secure box which easily attaches to your home - just like a real estate agent uses when showing a home for sale. Local emergency personnel are given the combination to the lockbox so they can quickly get a key to your home in the event of an emergency. The lockbox can also be used so that family members or friends can readily get a key to your home when necessary.

You can easily take our "HOME" fall detection system with you on vacation, or if you are a SnowBird. It is very easy to unplug and re-install. Simply notify Medical Care Alert Customer Service at 877-913-3680 of your current location. Information can be changed anytime and as many times as needed at no charge.

Our "HOME & AWAY" systems can be taken anywhere in the USA. You will be protected anywhere you have coverage with the AT&T Wireless network.

All medical alert buttons have a battery.

Most standard and fall detecting medical alert emergency call buttons never need charging. They are self-contained we replace your button when the battery gets low. All cellular / GPS medical alert devices should be charged daily.

Here's a list of the types of batteries used in our medical alert call buttons:

  • HOME System - Batteries never need charging. HOME Medical Alert Button batteries last up to 7 years before they need to be replaced. AutoFALL Fall Detection button batteries last up to 18 months before needing to be replaced. Our customer service team will notify you when we receive a low battery notification, and make arrangements to send a replacement medical alert button at no charge to you.
  • HOME & AWAY System - All HOME & AWAY pendants should be charged daily for best results. Most folks will just place the pendant in the charger at night, and keep it on the nightstand or other convenient location. Battery life on a single charge depends on several factors including: which model of HOME & AWAY system you have, cellular strength, if fall detection is enabled, and other environmental conditions.
For more information about medical alert batteries, click the link and visit our Thrive! Blog article.

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