Friday, 13 April 2012

Why we prefer alarms answered by a call centre over ones managed by a carer?

Last week a family from Prestwood, Buckinghamshire approached us to check and replace an alarm purchased on internet due to creating numerous problems for the alarm wearer (a 92 year old person) and the carers. So our first post is about the alarms answered by carers compared to those managed by a 24/7 care line.
Most personal alarm units including the ones we provide allow calls to be answered by a carer or a relative. However, we do not advise our clients to go down that route. Here are some reasons why we are reluctant to do so:
  1. While the idea of linking someone directly to a carer seems like an excellent idea this can put further pressure on carers who are already under enormous pressure. Imagine you’re out shopping or driving and the alarm goes off. Even when the alarm does not go off the carer can be concerned constantly with making sure their telephone is on/has signals.
  2. The unit can be set up so that the call is answered by others if the first call handler is not available. However, other people programmed to answer calls may travel or turn off their phone for any reason without remembering they’re on call. This needs a great deal of planning and can be restricting.
  3. Ending the call after answering it can be frustrating for carers because it is different from ending a normal call and the unit may stay connected if not done properly.
  4. If there is an emergency situation an experienced operator from a 24/7 care line can arrange help more efficiently and quickly. Having access to the client’s medical and sensitive information such as key safe PIN they can arrange help in shortest time possible. They can also guide through emergency team members,  inform carers in a timely manner and keep in touch with the client until help arrives.
  5. It’s advisable to also consider other aspects of personal alarms such as adding other sensors. For example, extreme temperature sensor, bed occupancy sensor, or medication dispenser. Personal alarms that are only answered by carers can be restricting in this respect.
  6. Some of the alarms answered by carers work using pay-as-go SIM cards. This can lead to problems such as running out of credit, poor signals and eventually ongoing cost. Unlike claims that there is no ongoing cost associated with these types of alarms the pay-as-go SIM card costs and it may even end up costing more compared to, for example, £2.99 weekly cost of getting it answered by a care line.
To see the range of disabled and elderly personal alarms and telecare products that Care Harmony Solutions provides please click here.