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Medical Alert Fall Detection

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Learn More About How Fall Detection Systems Work

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. Medical alert button with fall detection has 400 foot range from the base station (standard buttons have up to 1,000 foot range). 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 fall detection device as a pendant around the neck. In an emergency, speak directly into the pendant. Nationwide coverage with AT&T or Verizon 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 devices are 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 fall detection 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 or Verizon 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. This covers the cost of the special medical alert button with fall detection and the increased monitoring and maintenance for this important feature.

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 ULTRA pendant will evaluate movement for several seconds after detecting a fall. 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 and holding for 2 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.

Optional automatic fall detection in the HOME & AWAY ULTRA medical alert system uses software and sensors to detect rapid changes in position, indicating a fall has occured. If a fall pattern is identified, the ULTRA device 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 clinically and academically validated 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 signal a fall alert and 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 with a fall alert. 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 fall detection 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. Fall alert bracelets would set off too many false fall alert alarms due to movement on the wrist and arm.

Our medical alert systems for seniors with fall detection include our HOME and HOME & AWAY systems:
  • HOME System Fall Detection pendants are always worn around the neck as a pendant. The HOME medical alert button with fall detection is shower-safe, and includes a breakaway lanyard.
  • 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 DUO fall detection pendant should be worn around the neck with the lanyard. The fall detection device pendant can send a fall alert signal up to 300 feet away from the DUO GPS device.

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.

Our HOME AutoFALL Fall Detection pendant has no external magnets, operates on radio frequency 418MHz and is powered by a CR2477 lithium battery. You should have no interference with a pacemaker or defibrillator, but it's always best to check with your medical professional for their opinon.

The HOME & AWAY ULTRA system does have magnets as part of the charging pins. We generally recommend clients wanting automatic fall detection and GPS tracking to look at our HOME & AWAY DUO system which does not have the magnets.

As a general rule, we recommend keeping a cellular fall detection pendant 6-12 inches away from your pacemaker or defibillator. This often means the device should be worn on the hip - the HOME & AWAY DUO 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.

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 fall detection devices for seniors. 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" medical alert 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" medical alert fall detection systems can be taken anywhere in the USA. You will be protected anywhere you have coverage with the AT&T or Verizon 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. Standard 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.

You may be surpirsed to learn that we don't recommend automatic fall detection for every client.

A medical alert system with fall detection is usually best for folks who have a history of falling and may not be able to press the button by themselves. This may be a case of someone who is prone to blackouts, fainting, seizures or taking medicaiton that can cause confusion. Fall detection devices for seniors are most helpful in those situations.

We get questions from families about how medical alert fall detection works if their loved one loses consiousness. If we receive the fall detection signal but are not able to speak with them over the 2-way voice console/pendant, we send help and then notify the family that a fall has occured and EMS has been dispatched to their location.

Fall detection can be added at any time to our can easily take our "HOME" medical alert system by simply adding a fall detection pendant.

Adding fall detection to our "HOME & AWAY" medical alert fall detection systems is even easier: just call Medical Care Alert Customer Service at 877-913-3680 and we'll activate the medical alert fall detection feature for you right over the phone.


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