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FAQ - Fall Detection

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Frequently Asked Questions About Our Medical Alert Systems with Fall Detection

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 Automatic Fall Detection
Technical Specifications
Other Questions About Medical Alert Systems with Fall Detection

Questions About Medical Alert Systems for Seniors with Fall Detection

Q. What is automatic fall detection?
A. 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.

Q. How does automatic fall detection work?
A. 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.

Learn more about automatic fall detection
on our two popular systems:

HOME & AWAY ELITE GPS Medical Alert System pendant with fall detection sensor size comparison HOME Medical Alert System pendant with fall detection size comparison
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.
HOME with AutoFALL Pendant
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 ELITE GPS Medical Alert System pendant in charger HOME Medical Alert System with fall detection pendant
with base charger
HOME shown with AutoFALL Pendant
station and pendant

Q. Does automatic fall detection work 100% of the time?
A. No. No fall detection system works correctly 100% of the time. Users are advised to press the button if they are able to.

Q. Why don't automatic fall detection work 100% of the time?
A. 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. 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.

Q. How much does fall detection cost?
A. 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.

Q. Will it go off accidentally?
A. 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 occured. 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.

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Technical Specifications

Q. What are the technical specifications of the fall detection sensors in the HOME & AWAY ELITE system?
A. 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.

Q. What are the technical specifications of the fall detection pendant for the HOME system?
A. 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.

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Other Questions About Medical Alert Systems with Fall Detection

elderly woman with caregiver and fall detection pendant

Q. Why does the fall detection pendant make a call when I haven't fallen?
A. 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.

Q. Why doesn't the fall detection pendant go off when it's dropped or thrown on the floor?
A. 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.

Q. How should I wear the fall detection button for best results?
A. The fall detection button needs to be close to the body, preferably at chest level at the breast plate. The 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.

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