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Medical Alert Device FAQs

The time that you’re beginning to search for a home medical alert device is likely fraught with tension and stress and knowing you need to equip your loved ones with a medical monitoring pendant may be hard to face. LifeFone makes navigating the sometimes-confusing maze of medical alert providers easier by offering a comprehensive list of the most frequently asked questions they have heard from potential users.

Here are some of questions you may be wondering about if you’re beginning your search for a home medical alert device:

  • Do you have to sign a contract? With LifeFone there is no time commitment when you subscribe to the personal emergency response service. That makes it ideal as a solution for a family member that is coping with a short-term illness or recovering from surgery. Cancellation is as easy as a phone call, letter or email to stop the service. Once the equipment has been returned a refund will be issued.
  • Does pushing the help button mean that an ambulance has to be dispatched? Not necessarily. Once the button is pushed, a LifeFone care agent will attempt to make contact with you. If you can answer, you will be asked whether you want an ambulance or some other assistance. You may simply need to have a family member come and offer a lift assist and that call can be made by LifeFone on your behalf. Be aware that an ambulance will be dispatched if you specifically request one or if the representative cannot make voice contact with you once you’ve pressed the help button. LifeFone will always err on the side of caution based on your personalized care plan.
  • Can I use a cellular telephone or do I need a landline? A landline is the most reliable telephone system to have with a home medical alert device because it is the most reliable in the event of a weather emergency whereas a cellular tower signal could be knocked out. Cellular service does cost more but is an excellent solution for those with no landline service. Even though the fee is a little higher than for a landline only service, LifeFone is very competitively priced.
  • Does the cellular service work anywhere that I go? No. The service works the same as the landline service – in and around your home. The exact range for your home medical device depends on the configuration of your home and where the unit is placed.
  • What if the power goes out? After you’ve installed and tested the equipment it is then self-checking and will notify the call center if there is a power failure in your area or if your battery is low. You don’t have to worry about it once you’ve installed it. If the power goes out the device has a 32-hour battery backup. If you have the 3G cellular service, the batter back-up is 60 hours.
  • I’ve heard of GPS technology, does LifeFone use that? GPS technology is used as a location identifier and is used in smart phones and in some vehicles that use satellite service. The use of GPS technology is in limited use in home medical alert systems as a GPS signal is not a precise location indicator. If you live in an apartment building, as an example, the GPS will locate the building but not necessarily your particular unit. The GPS units on the market currently are not waterproof and the ability to wear the device at all times is crucial to protection.
  • Is it easy to install a LifeFone system? Very easy. You need to plug the unit into the phone jack in the home and because the unit is pre-programmed, it is ready to use! Simply unplug the phone from the wall jack, plug it into the medical alert console and plug the console into the phone jack. You will also need to plug a cord into an electrical socket. A medical unit can typically be unboxed and set up within ten minutes.
  • I’ve heard about fall-detection devices, do you offer that? Currently, the available fall detection services do not meet the quality and reliability standards that will allow the company to offer it as a service to its customers. Fall detection, in theory, is appealing and LifeFone has tested several devices. However, the number of false alarms was found to be unacceptable; frequent false alarms lead to anxiety in the subscriber and a feeling that they were losing confidence in the device. LifeFone wants its subscribers to feel safe and protected, never anxious.
  • Could I have a second unit if I needed one? Second units are typically not needed as you can take your home unit with you when you travel. If you’re planning a trip you can call LifeFone 48 hours in advance, let them know your new location and the landline number and your profile will be updated.  You are then ready to use your medical alert pendant while away from home. This is likely a better option than paying for a second unit and a second subscription.
  • I have a large home, will the unit protect me? You can purchase a long-range transmitter (for a one time charge) that can extend the range of the unit up to 1,000 feet in any direction (that’s the length of three football fields!) LifeFone is designed to cover a home of up to 3,500 square feet.
  • I live with someone else who may need the assistance as well. What do we do? You can purchase a second medical alert pendant or wristband for a one-time charge, fill out a second Personal Emergency Response Profile and you’re all set.
  • Where is your call center? The home office and original call center are in White Plains, NY and there is a second center in Plano, Texas.

LifeFone has a more comprehensive FAQ on its website that can answer any questions you may have about the unit. If you have further questions, you can simply call our offices and we will be pleased to help!