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Care alarm guide

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Before you buy, consider the points listed below:

  • Care alarms help a person at home to summon assistance in an emergency if they are unable to get to the phone. These alarms can enable the person to continue living independently at home with peace of mind for relatives and carers
  • Local key holders must be identified to respond when assistance is required. Keyholders must agree to respond during the day and night if they are required to open your door. Some services will operate with a key safe for emergency services to use if a local keyholder is not available
  • The person at home wears a wristband or pendant which is connected via a base unit to a local or national call centre. Most local councils have a social alarm service
  • Most alarm systems need a connection to a landline and mains electricity but some are available using mobile phone networks
  • When the alarm is raised it goes to a 24-hour call centre where the operator can speak to the user immediately and will follow the procedure agreed by the user and their carers to summon key holders or the emergency services
  • If the person is unable to operate a wrist or pendant trigger, you may want to consider alternative devices which use sensors to identify risk and automatically trigger an alarm. These can detect either movement, falls, temperature extremes, or other environmental risks at home. See the Technology Enabled Care and Support section on our website, or contact us for further information. Assessment or advice from a healthcare professional is advisable in these circumstances. Contact your local GP or local community rehabilitation team to request a home assessment by a health care professional.
  • The call centre will also be alerted if there is a fault on the line or if the electricity supply is interrupted and they will follow the agreed procedure for this to ensure that the alarm system is not interrupted. They will test the line occasionally and always accept that alarms may be triggered in error
  • Some systems are available with a pager for a carer who is at home with that person. The carer can then respond and cancel the alarm. If the carer cannot respond to the alert then the alarm will connect to the call centre as ‘back-up’
  • Some sensors can be installed as ‘stand alone’ items without a call centre connection to alert a carer on-site or by mobile phone
  • Check the price for rental and installation for a social alarm system as well as the cost for each alarm call, which is usually the cost of a local or national phone call