Personal Emergency Alarm Systems

Original Editor - Lucinda hampton

Top Contributors - Lucinda hampton and Kim Jackson  

Introduction[edit | edit source]

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A personal alarm is a small device that helps you monitor and communicate with a person who may require attention in times of need. Also known as life alarms, when these small devices are triggered they send an emergency alert to pre-set mobile phone numbers or a 24-hour monitoring service.

  • Unlike smartphones, they're designed mainly to be a quick and simple communication tool for times of distress or danger.
  • Personal alarms can give peace of mind and a sense of security to the elderly, children, solo workers or people recuperating after surgery or illness – as well as their loved ones and carers.
  • Patients and children can quickly and easily alert others if they require attention, typically if they're lost or injured[1].

Why The Need[edit | edit source]


With our population ageing, and the number of people living alone increasing, utilising assistive technology to enable Older People to age well and productively at home is an area of growing importance. Personal alarms are one form of assistive technology designed to support independent living by enabling people to gain fast assistance in an emergency. Typically, the person accesses the emergency service by pressing the button on the necklace pendant. The pendant acts as a radio transmitter that communicates with a unit in the person’s home which is connected to a 24-h monitoring call centre.

Apart from providing people with faster assistance in emergencies they can also provide a sense of security and reduce anxiety about falling, reduce anxiety for the person’s family, increase confidence in performing everyday activities and extend the time people are able to remain living independently in their own home

The types of emergencies that personal alarms have significant potential to address are in the main:

  1. Medical emergencies eg cardiac or respiratory problems, that require rapid access to assistance
  2. Falls in older people when the individual has difficulty getting up by themselves. Studies have shown two thirds of people who fall are unable to get up unassisted and that 15 % of all reported falls resulted in the person being on the floor for an hour or more ie a “long lie”.[2]

Unfortunately, there are older individuals who are at high risk of an emergency who are choosing, often for financial and lack of family support reasons, not to purchase a personal alarm service[2].

Wishes for the Future[edit | edit source]

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The Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) has proven to be durable over time, while many telecare technologies tend never to leave the pilot stage. Many users find the PERS to be easy to use and it makes it possible for the end users to live independently by providing help and safety when needed, giving the end users an active role in the caring practice. The PERS in many ways delivers its promises of safety and independent living.

Some studies described wishes for improvement of the PERS.

  • End users wanted longer pendant range, smaller pendants, and for the PERS to be waterproof, personalized, include global positioning system (GPS) and relevant alarms, automatic connection to the nearest health personnel, and automatic dispatching sound when in need.
  • They also suggested how service could be improved by responders identifying themselves and speaking slowly and loudly, and that written materials in large print should be provided.[3]

References[edit | edit source]