Automated Security Alert Extends the Continuum of Care

By Hank Walshak

Patients admitted to a hospital for surgery, disabling infections, chronic conditions, or falls often neglect to consider post-hospital convalescence. Yet, within their continuum of care, the getting-better part after discharge at home or in a nursing facility can be fraught with safety concerns.

“Post-op recovery can leave one frail and susceptible to accidents and recurrences,” said Vince Nigrelli, President of Automated Security Alert, Inc. in Munhall. “Infections under control at a hospital can return. And patients with chronic conditions can take a turn for the worst. At times like these, people need access to an emergency-response system.”

Years ago, hospitals supplied such a service. But as time went on, many discontinued their emergency-response operations. Today, only a few hospitals continue to offer the service.

To fill the gap, Automated Security Alert has, since 1988, provided a wireless, 24/7, monitored, emergency-alert system to seniors, recovering patients, people with disabilities and the elderly.

“We enable hospitals to offer the service at no cost to the hospitals and extend their continuum of patient care,” said Nigrelli. “The cost of the service is borne by individual customers who use the service.”

What works for hospitals works for nursing homes. Subscribers to the service who fall or have other accidents and cannot reach the emergency pull cord by their beds have the means always at hand to move the emergency response team at Automated Security Alert into action.

“The key lies in the medical-alert pendant that service subscribers wear around the neck or wrist. In an emergency, the person in need simply presses the Help Button on the pendant. This activates a medical alarm and opens transmission for the person with our emergency call center and an experienced associate,” said Nigrelli.

The associate assesses the emergency and arranges on-the-spot assistance by a family member, a nearby neighbor, an ambulance, and a fire department or police department. Just as important, the associate at Automated Security Alert dispatches assistance immediately even if the person is unable to respond verbally.

The waterproof, medical pendant reflects the height of practical technology. Customers can wear the device while showering, and the medical alarm works even during a power outage. The alarm operates for 8 to 20 hours on internal standby batteries that automatically recharge when power returns.

Staff members at the company’s call center know the medical alert is working since the medical-alert unit signals the monitoring station when the transmitter battery runs low or if a power failure lasts more than two hours. The medical alarm also signals the monitoring station periodically to verify that the telephone system and medical alarm are in working order.

Automated Security Alert also assists customers in staying compliant on a regimen of multiple prescriptions. People who may inadvertently stray into noncompliance include those who experience difficulties with physical dexterity, mild to moderate dementia, and those who follow complex medication schedules. They may experience difficulty remembering medications and sorting and taking them as prescribed.

To eliminate these challenges, the company’s Personal Medication System reminds them to take the right prescription, at the proper dose, and at the prescribed time. An audible tone sounds indicating when it’s time to take the medication; a red light on the front of the machine flashes at the same time; and a text-message appears that noting the time to take the medication. A user then presses a large, red button to dispense a dose cup from the machine.

The unit can accommodate loading up to 28 doses of medication at one time. The unit then automatically dispenses each dose in individual cups at pre-programmed times in keeping with a person’s medication schedule. And the locking compartment on the unit keeps medications safe and out of the hands of other people.

If a person forgets to take the prescribed doses, the Personal Medication System automatically calls to alert a caregiver. Caregivers can also track a family member’s dispensing records, thereby assuring that unit remains in working order.

“Servicing individual customers through our emergency alert system is a given. In this context, we remain open to extending the continuum of care provided by hospitals to their patients and by nursing homes to their residents,” said Nigrelli.

Vince Nigrelli, President, Automated Security Alert, Inc., can be reached at [email protected].