Saturday, February 22, 2014

Medical Alert Systems Help Reduce the High Costs of Senior Care by Stacey Hammel

With the high costs of home health care personnel, rehabilitation centers, medication, home medical equipment and doctor's visits, there is typically little-to-no money left over. Senior care is very expensive already and the costs just continue to rise. Sometimes it becomes impossible to pay for the things needed most with so many outside costs weighing a person down. A medical alert system can greatly lessen the high costs of senior care. Lightweight, simple and inexpensive, medical alert systems can cut down on the need for home health care, and costly doctor visits.
It may be difficult to believe that a simple home service like a medical alert system can help reduce the costs of senior care so greatly. However, there are many ways in which medical alert systems can act as somewhat of a replacement for certain types of home care. Let's take a look at some of the average costs of senior health care and how a medical alert system can help lower the overall costs.
Be sure to keep in mind that the use of a medical alert system is typically free, and just carries a monthly monitoring fee ranging from about $17.95-$24.95. Annually, our advertised medical alert system will cost no more than $215.40. Hopefully this will help more easily put its cost in perspective in comparison to all the other costly senior care expenses.
Home Health Care
Home health care can be incredibly expensive, especially if insurance does not cover it or only covers a small portion. Most home health care nurses make upwards of $30 an hour. This means it costs more for a nurse to monitor someone for an hour, than it costs for an entire month of medical alert system service. Obviously, a device can never replace a trained medical professional, but many times home health nurses are utilized to work in the home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This can be excessive and unnecessary for some patients. Sometimes having a nurse or loved one check in regularly is enough. However, it may seem daunting to leave a loved one all by themselves for so many hours in the day, so having a home health nurse or family member stay with the patient seems to be the one and only option. At $30 an hour for 24 hours a day, each day will cost $720. By the time a 7-day week is over, the cost of a home health nurse has become $5,040. And by the end of a 30-day month, it will have cost $21,600. For some people, this is a yearly salary. And if insurance is not covering the care, this could be all out of pocket, which for many people is completely out of reach. Keep in mind as well, that this is only the cost of a nurse, (and it is also a conservative estimate.) When using a home health agency, as many people do to find a home health nurse, the cost may actually be double because what the home health agency pays the nurse is only a portion of the cost they pass on to the patient.
With a medical alert system costing no more than $24.95 a month, completely replacing home health care with a medical alert system could reduce the cost by $21,570. Of course, it is typically not feasible to cut out home health care entirely. If home health were provided in the home for a typical 40 hour work week, it would bring the cost down from $21,600 to $4,800 a month, a savings of $16,800. With the aide of a medical alert system during the hours that a nurse is not in the home providing home health care, people are able to swap out a bill of $16,800 for a $17.95 to $24.95 bill.
Costly Doctor and Hospital Visits
To not see a doctor or visit a hospital at all as a senior with medical issues is not advisable. However, the amount of times it is necessary to see a doctor or visit a hospital can be greatly reduced by having a medical alert system in the home. When a medical alert system is utilized in the home, medical personnel is able to reach a person in need more quickly. This greatly reduces the chances of more serious injuries and health problems. Therefore, there will be fewer follow-up doctor's visits or emergency trips to the hospital since it is likely that medical emergencies will be far less disastrous.
Think about this situation: A person falls in their home and does not have a medical alert system. During the fall, they sustain mostly minor injuries, but unfortunately they twisted their ankle and have become immobile. They try to pull themselves across the floor, but it is too painful. They are alone, and no one is scheduled to stop by the home until the next day. By the time someone finds them, they have endured a great deal of stress from trying to deal with the pain, they are dehydrated and malnourished, and their injuries have gone untreated for a day. This causes them to spend three days in the hospital and have several scheduled rehabilitation appointments to help them regain use of their ankle, since they further injured it by trying to move and failing. All of these extra appointments cost thousands of dollars.
Now imagine the same situation, but the person who fell had an emergency alert system and was able to press their button just a moment after they fell. Within seconds, an operator is on the phone, and able to dispatch emergency personnel to the house. Soon after, the patient is at the hospital getting the necessary help. By later that day, they are released with few injuries, and a request for just one follow-up visit. The medical bills are significantly less in this situation.
Home health care, doctor's visits and hospital visits are just a few of the ways in which a medical alert system can help save on the high costs of senior care. However, both of these areas together are typically the mostly costly aspects of senior care. Being able to cut costs in this area can be invaluable to financially staying afloat and improving quality of life.

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