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Technology

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Options in PERS
By Emily Curtis, Staff Writer
(Page 1 of 3)

Voice Monitoring

Some PERS are developed for emergencies. These devices can be worn either as a bracelet or necklace while others are a box attached to a telephone with a speaker system. These systems provide peace of mind to long-distance caregivers because the monitoring station can be alerted with the push of a button.

Some of these devices are now wireless, thereby limiting the number of connections that need to be made in order to install the device. Even if they must be hooked up to a phone line, they will not interfere with normal functioning of the phone. In the event that the system is activated, a two-way voice communication is activated so that the monitoring company can talk to someone who may have fallen or is not able to get to the telephone.

One PERS in this category is Main Street Monitoring through Home Technology Systems (www.hometechsystems.com). This system offers wireless transmitter buttons worn by the person either around the neck or on the wrist. A two-way communication system links into the phone and can open a dialogue between the monitoring station and the individual when it is activated.

Medication Management

There are PERS that will give reminders about when medicine is due. “Medication buddies” can help those who have difficulty remembering when to take medicine. Some systems, like American Medical Alert (www.amac.com) can organize and dispense medication at the appropriate time. Others may display a reminder and beep to notify the person so they can take medication.

According to a study published in PubMed (1999, Abstract indexed for Medline), a variety of methods, including “pre-poured pillboxes, automatic dispensers with voice-activated message, and regular or video-telephone call reminders have been useful for enhancing medication compliance.” In addition, the study noted that advances in technology can reduce hospital admissions and costly errors in medication management.

Activities of Daily Living

What if a caregiver needs more information from the patient than the patient is capable of providing? The Quiet Care System (www.quietcaresystems.com), for example, uses small motion detectors throughout the home to provide insight into how the person is functioning in their own home.

Some of the areas that can be monitored include wakeup and bedtimes, bathroom times, activity in the home, meals, and medication usage. No cameras are installed and patient privacy is protected. Family members and geriatric providers can receive information as needed or at regular intervals through phone calls, emails, or logging into a secure website.

Wandering from Home Alzheimers Disease and other dementia related disorders cause a high level of concern, even for the at-home caregiver. There are monitoring devices that notify the family as soon as the person has wandered past a specific point. HomeFree at Home (www.homefreesys.com) offers a home-based system that is easy to use and unobtrusive in its monitoring.

The person wears a monitoring device on their wrist, similar to a watch. Caregivers can customize the range to allow flexibility while limiting the distance someone can travel from the monitoring device. Alerts can be given visually or audibly. Pager alarms are also an option if the caregiver is not near the monitoring system at the time of the event.

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