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Personal emergency response systems

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Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS)



A personal emergency response system is a device used to connect a person with emergency responders in situations where assistance is needed. The device is a simple button that the user wears and will alert a service to assess the situation. The company on the other end will be able to call an ambulance or emergency contacts if the user cannot perform those actions themselves. Typically this device is used by the elderly that live alone. Different devices could be synched with smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors to let others know that the user is in trouble. Future directions of this product include smart phone applications that monitor falls and GPS locations.


  1. Transmitter worn by the user
  2. Receiver attached to a house phone
  3. Contract with a service for monitoring


The transmitter is powered by a small battery and acts as a speaker/microphone through their phone line. The device can be worn as a necklace or bracelet to be on the user at all times. The transmitter is an easy alternative than having to get to a phone in an emergency. One push of the button and you are talking to the service personnel on the other end. The transmitter, when pressed, sends a signal to a receiver attached to the house phone line. Depending on the size of the house, the button should work in any room. If houses are bigger, multiple receivers could be installed to cover all square footage. Equipment alone will not send a signal for help in the case of an emergency. A contract with an alert monitoring service is required as well to provide around the clock coverage. The call goes to a 24 hour call service that would connect you with either an ambulance or an emergency contact number to notify family members in an emergency.

Indications for Use:

The appropriate user for this device is an independent person who lives on their own and is home bound for most of the day. These users usually have a chronic disease or condition that could result in a sudden emergency or a need for medical assistance. The user could also be prone to falls. Another area of use for this device is hospitals and nursing homes where staff could be notified if a patient needs help.


There are certain situations in which this system would not be useful to use. If the patient is out of their house a lot and away from the receiver, the device will not function. The option for people to use in this situation would be a cell phone. If they are out of their house for much of the day, the user is also less likely to need the assistance from this device. Another contraindication for use is if the patient has cognitive impairment such as dementia. The patient will not have the capability of pressing the button in an emergency.