Bay Alarm In-Home Alerts: Review

Bay Alarm In-Home Alert

The Basics

Product name: In-Home Medical Alert, In-Home Cellular Alert 

Manufacturer / Distributor: Bay Alarm Medical

Compilation: Sept. 2015. Updated Q4 2018.

This page contains our Bay Alarm Medical In-Home Medical Alert, In-Home Cellular Alert review.

 

 

Analyst Summary: Bay Alarm Medical In-Home Medical Alert, In-Home Cellular Alert

These two products are conceptually similar, providing medical alert systems at home only. One works with a conventional landline and one works with a cellular connection to the monitoring service.

Both products give you the choice of a conventional pendant or a special "fall alert" pendant, which can auto detect falls.

In all cases, communication with the monitoring service is via the base station.

We acquired the cellular version. When it came the package insert identified it as the MXD3G. This appears to be the same unit as is sold by RescueAlert. And the picture of the rescue Alert looks just like the system we received. The sticker on the bottom suggests the unit is made bty Mytrex. Our guess is that this third party supplies systems to both companies.

 

Pre-testing

Written By: Richard Caro.  Last Updated: Dec 29 2015 - 2:41pm.

This product family made our list for testing, as Bay Alarm seems to get well reviewed on the various review sites around the web, and the company has a solid reputation as a home security company (ie burglar alarms etc). We see these as representative of the old approach to medical alert systems, whereby the system is designed to work only in the home. We are anticipating the system will be a solid example of that type of product.


This product has two versions of the base station. One requires a "landline" and suggests it may have trouble if you have DSL or VoIP. The other uses a cellular connection from the base station to the monitoring center. At this point we wanted to avoid the hastle of figuring out if the landline version would or would not work with our home phone (which is ATT U-Verse and thus not an old fashioned "landline"). So we opted for the cellular connection from base station to monitoring center, which costs a bit ($30/mth vs $24/mth) more than the landline version, but made our life simpler.

Acquiring it. Day 1.

In addition to selecting the cellular version of the base station, we wanted the automatic fall detection pendant (rather than the conventional pendant) as we wanted to test drive this feature too. And we wanted to pay by the month. This brought the price to $50/mth. ($40/mth if you pay 6 months at a time). With the normal pendant the costs are $10 less.

The website is clearly laid out, seems to have full information about the products, their features, and the pricing which is refreshing. You can buy online or call to buy. We would have liked to buy online, and that would have worked if we did not want the automatic fall detection pendant, but that required a call apparently. Instead I used their online chat to ask about this. Apparently "as of right now we do not have that feature [fall detection] as we are out stock". The chat lady said it would be available "mid October". I thought this was a bit of a bad sign but decided to persevere anyway and order the product with the fall detection as a baseline for our tests. I asked if I could upgrade later to the fall pendant and apparently I can.

I went ahead and ordered (online) the "In-home cellular medical alert" (with the conventional pendant, no fall detection capability). I committed to pay $40/mth and $10 shipping. The online process worked smoothly and was uneventful. So far so good.

Day 2. Unboxing

Written By: Richard Caro.  Last Updated: Dec 29 2015 - 2:41pm.

This product came on time, and in an unexciting brown cardboard box. On unpacking it I had two immediate reactions.

  1. What an ugly base station. I can't imagine having that anywhere visible in my house.
  2. What a small pendant. This might be something you could easily wear all the time as it seems very small light and unobtrusive.

What you get

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Nice small pendant

Note: This is NOT a autodetect fall pendant, and thus can be smaller than those devices.

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Rather ugly base station

The big red "Help" button might be good in a situation where the user is medicalized and their living space is full of "medical-type" aids. But it would not fit well in someone's house if the person wanted to keep things looking "normal".

bayalarmbasestation

Activating it

Written By: Richard Caro.  Last Updated: Dec 29 2015 - 2:41pm.

This system was easy to set up and activate.

Because I chose the base unit that connects via cell signal to the responder call center, there was no need to worry about connecting it to the phone line. I put the base station in the corner of my office and plugged it in to the power outlet. It started talking to me, self tested the strength of the cell signal, and then told me it was ready for action.

Using a simple button on the back I put it into test mode and this allowed me to walk around my house pressing the pendant button to test how far from the base station I could go and still have the pendant work. The range was pretty good. It easily went from one end of my moderate sized house to the other.

This type of system relies on voice communication via the base station rather than via the pendant, which is part of the reason the pendant is so nice and small. I was worried that when I was at the other end of the house, if I had an emergency, the button would activate the call to the responders but then they would not be able to hear me when they tried to verify I was OK.

This indeed proved to be the case. I stayed on the line with the responder doing a test to see how far away I could go before she lost my voice. It was not far at all. Maybe a couple of rooms at most.

The implication of this is as follows. In the vast majority of my house, the pendant can be used to send an alert. But when the responder tries to talk to me we will not be able to hear each other.

In that circumstance the responder will go ahead and send emergency services who, if they dont get a reply when they knock, may break into the house. If I were having a real emergency this would probaly be OK. But if there was a false alarm when I pressed the button accidentally, I can easily imagine misssing the return call and getting a big surprise when the fire brigade arrived. If I was in the back garden they might easily break in the front without me noticing.

I feel this is a bit of a limitation. Especially for a system with a fall autodetection as they are prone to false alarms.

Of course this is likely true for all the systems which operate in this way and rely on voice communication through a base station. It is by no means limited just to this particular product.

 

 

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Product Line & Company: Bay Alarm Medical

Bay Alarm medical makes an "at-home medical alert and a "go anywhere" medical alert. The company seems well regarded in reviews on the Internet, and these products often score well in on-line review sites of PERS products.

The company has a solid reputation as a home security company (ie burglar alarms etc). .........Read more

 

About this Research

This product review is part of an extensive series of medical alert system reviews of over 50 products, including hands-on evaluation and real-world testing of the most promising ones, in real-world situations.

These reviews and analyses are part of our Research Project designed to help older adults and their families Choose the Right Medical Alert System for THEM — the result of which is our Medical Alert Systems: Selection Guide.

We have tried hard to make this research as independent and objective as possible. It has not been funded or sponsored by any of the vendors of these products, and includes no advertising or "sponsored content". The team that conducted this research has strong scientific, clinical, and aging services backgrounds. You can read more about the team that did this research at the links above. 

 

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