Medical Alert System – Base Station Unit | 101 Guide

The medical alert base unit is a hardware that is installed in the home of the person using the medical alert service, and the main purpose of the base unit is to establish the connection with the call center once the user presses the help button. The base unit is essentially the heart of the system.

Base units have different designs, depending on the company that provides the service, but they all function in the similar way. They have a built-in speaker which allows users to communicate with the call center agents when there is an emergency.

Once the user chooses a medical alert company, the necessary equipment which is needed to reach the call center is shipped, and the base unit is an integral part of the package. The base unit comes with instructions on how to set it up and often the user installs the equipment alone, but there are companies that require additional payment for the installation of the unit, which is why you should check if the company charges installation fees, prior to ordering.

The main difference between types of base units is in the type of connection. Base units either use a landline or cellular network for connection. The base unit can be for in-home only use or fully mobile. In case of a mobile unit, the base station is small and portable so that the user can easily carry it around. All mobile base station units use cellular network for connection.


How Does It Work?

In-home base station usually looks like a phone answering machine and it has a built-in speakerphone on it for two-way communication in case of an emergency. The speakerphone is used for communication with the call center because many of the systems do not offer two-way talking pendants. This is why it is important to place the base station in a central location in the home. The base station unit frequently has a backup battery, which ensures that the connection with the help center remains uninterrupted even during power failures. Base stations made for mobile use need to be charged regularly.

Wearable help button connects wirelessly to the base station, and the location of the base station and the size of the home will determine the operational range. The range of different base stations from different companies can considerably vary. Mobile base stations use the cellular network and they connect wirelessly to the help button, this is exactly the same as with in-home systems.

The mobile base station will work anywhere where there is cellular signal coverage. Mobile base station is small and light and has a built-in speakerphone for two-way communication with the call center. As soon as the user pushes the help button, the base station calls the monitoring center where the trained agent is awaiting to provide assistance. Some mobile stations also have a built-in GPS locating feature, this helps identify the location of the person in need – when on the go.


When choosing a system, look through the specifications of the base station. Check the following specifications: connection type (landline or cellular), battery life, speakerphone range, wireless button range, design. Sometimes it is possible to find the same base station hardware sold by different companies, here the only difference is in the logo stamped on it and in the quality of the medical alert service the company provides, otherwise the technical specifications should be the same.

Check our comparison tool on different base systems units »


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