Both doctors and caregivers know how important it is to provide their patients with 24-hour medical monitoring, particularly for those who are vulnerable or in high-risk groups. The truth of the matter is that a medical emergency won’t wait for a trained medical professional to arrive – it can happen at any place and time, so a fast response is crucial. According to statistics from the CDC, there are over 100 million ER visits each year in the US, with 40 million of those being for injuries. Moreover, close to 15 million require hospital admission, while 2 million emergency room patients end up in critical care.
The only solution is to provide round-the-clock patient monitoring. But the problem with this approach is that it is not very cost-effective for senior citizens or other patients that still have some mobility. Alternatively, hiring a caregiver can only go so far. Yes, they can help with some pain and discomfort, bathing, dressing, and help with routine activities, but they can’t be there all the time unless a patient can afford to hire three or more caregivers to offer 24-hour help.
Unfortunately, when a vulnerable patient doesn’t have adequate care, accidents and injuries tend to happen more often. Falls are the leading cause of injury for older Americans, both fatal and non-fatal ones. According to stats from the U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, 25% of Americans over 65 fall once per year on average, and every 19 minutes an older adult passes away from his injuries relating to a fall. Besides, caregivers that work unreasonably long hours cannot possibly give patients the care they deserve. That’s why asking too much and paying too little while possible is a recipe for disaster and neglect.
Luckily, there have been tremendous advancements when it comes to medical alert systems. At their inception in the 1970s, these devices were large and unwieldy, making them hard to use and carry around. More importantly, the first medical alerts lacked waterproofing, so using one in a bath was out of the question. This was an incredible downside because more than a third of injuries resulting in emergency room visits happen in a bathroom.
But where there’s a demand, there’s a way and medical alert systems have since evolved greatly. Modern devices aren’t big and hard to carry around like they used to be, or complicated to use anymore. Nowadays, a wide range of specialized companies sells devices that are durable, waterproof, and easy enough to be carried non-stop, even during a bathroom break or a shower. What’s more, they’re hard to notice, so someone who has to use one doesn’t have to be self-conscious about it.
You might think that there’s a generational gap when it comes to technology in the case of medical alerts, but they’re so intuitive and easy to use that the vast majority of seniors have no problem making them work. After all, these devices have little to no instructions that a patient has to follow. Instead, they just need to wear them, whether they’re in the form of a bracelet or necklace, and just press one button if they’re ever in trouble.
The emergency a medical alert points to can be anything really: a heart attack, stroke, or a fall. Once that button is pressed, a medical response center will call them on the base unit’s loudspeaker. You can also program different alerts so that the unit calls 911 automatically, the next-door neighbor, or a hospital, for example, when the device detects a fall or other event that might point to a serious injury.
Simply put, a medical alert system offers caregivers and doctors the chance to monitor their patients or loved ones for emergencies non-stop. A medical monitoring device fills a time gap that a caregiver never could do and gives you peace of mind that an aging relative gets help as soon as possible if a problem arises.
Finally, costs have come down for these devices thanks to improvements in other areas such as manufacturing and wireless technology, making them more than affordable. The monthly fee for one such system is minimal and costs around $20. Compare that to an average caregiver salary of $12-13 per hour in the U.S and you’ll quickly realize what a bargain this is. Furthermore, when you consider just how much you get with a medical alert in terms of function, we think you will agree when we say it is more than worth the price for making sure a loved one is safe.
- “Emergency Department Visits,” CDC,
- “Falls Prevention Facts,” NCOA,
- “Watch Your Step While Washing Up,” The New York Times, Nicholas Bakalar, 15 August, 2011,
- “Top Companies for Caregivers in United States,” Indeed, https://www.indeed.com/career/caregiver/salaries