People like to joke about those sometimes campy “I’ve fallen and can’t get up” commercials, but did you know there’s significant research showing those services are very beneficial?  There are a few big brands, but the generic industry term for these call-for-help services is personal emergency response systems (PERS).  Industry research shows that PERS reduce mortality rates by nearly four times and reduce the likelihood of hospitalization by 59%.  Are they worth the subscription fee?  One study found that PERS produce a cost-to-benefit ratio of 1.87 to one.  Among the subset of people who have severe disabilities, the cost to benefit ratio is an impressive 7 to 1.  Proving once again that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Sources:

  1. Bernstein M. Low-tech personal emergency response systems reduce costs and improve outcomes. Manag Care Q. 2000; 8(1): 38-43.
  2. Sherwood S. Morris J. A study of the effects of an emergency alarm and response system for the aged: a final report. Grand No. HS01788, NCHSR 1981.
  3. Cain B. Effects of a Lifeline program on hospitalization. Long Beach California: California State Univeristy: Thesis.
  4.  Dibner A. Effect of personal emergency response system on hospital use. Watertown, Massachusetts: Lifeline Systems, Inc. 1985.
  5. Koch W. Emergency response systems assist in discharge planning. Dimens Health Serv 1984; 61:30-31.
  6. Ruchlin H, Morris J. Cost-benefit analysis of emergency alarm and response system: a case study of a long-term care program. Health Serv Rs 1981; 16: 65-80.

PERS

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