Medical Guardian, Premium Guardian: Review

Medical Guardian, Premium Guardian: Review

The Basics

Product name: Premium Guardian 

Manufacturer / Distributor: Medical Guardian

Compilation: Sept. 2015. Updated Q4 2018.

This page contains our Medical Guardian Premium Guardian review.

 

 

Analyst Summary: Medical Guardian Premium Guardian

This is a "go anywhere" PERS which works wherever there is cell coverage. It does not have an added base station in the home, so you need good cell coverage in your house for this to work well at home. It has auto-detection of falls (optional); 2 way voice through the wearable pendant; and is water resistant.

This product was included in our comparative analysis of "go anywhere" medical alerts, and more details of its performance are discussed here:

Update Q4 2018

Medical Guardian no longer sells this product, although it is still available from other vendors of the Numera Libris product, who usually call it something different.

The product is wholesaled by a company called Numera as the "Libris" and is also available from several other distributors, which is why you will see several apparently identical looking products to this in our selection tool, but with different names.

This product uses the AT&T network.

 

Pre-testing

Written By: Richard Caro.  Last Updated: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 14:41.

At first glance the website is a bit off-putting as it has screaming "Call now" banners, and moving images and an overall appearance and impression that is not elegant and not upscale. While some of the products in the line up seem a little old fashioned, this premium Guardian seems to have all the most up-to-date features. In addition to being a go anywhere system, it is waterproof and has built-in fall detection capability.

 

Acquiring it. Day 1.

The website makes a big deal about "no long term contracts", and offers a pay by the month plan. However if you find the small print buried on the terms and conditions page, it seems that you need to sign up for a minimum of 3 months. Not sure this is too much of a negative. But the way it is buried is a slight red flag. [When you get to the ordering page, this 90 day commitment is clearly stated.]

We set out to buy the Premium Guardian, with Fall Detection (ie with the special fall detection pendant rather than the normal pendant). Billed monthly this came to $60/mth. Shipping seems to be free. You can buy it online on the website without the need to call. They have a chat feature for questions. Online ordering process went smoothly.

Unboxing

Written By: Richard Caro.  Last Updated: Thu, 11/17/2016 - 14:32.

The product arrived in about a week without unexpected incident. It is packed in a typical brown cardboard box. Not exciting but not off putting.

Because this is a go-anywhere system, it is fairly simple in terms of the things in the box. There is the pendant, a charging cradle, a lanyard and a nice belt clip option, and a small instruction manual and the contract.

Premium Guardian unboxed

 

The pendant itself is fairly large (similar to the Splash from Great Call, which has similar functionality). It is reasonably OK looking. It does have a quite nice flashing light that periodically glows green. I found it disappointing however that it was the usual white-beige color of boring computers and other clinical electronics. Inoffensive: Yes. A fashion accessory: No.

The pendant is shown in the image below. One feature I really liked is that it comes with a rather convenient belt clip that can be attached to the back, thus making it possible to wear on your belt instead of around your neck. Not sure how well the automatic fall detection works in that mode, but it seems quite a bit more convenient for me. Our female explorers pointed out they would not like that because they dont typically wear a belt.

Premium Guardian pendant

Activation

Written By: Richard Caro.  Last Updated: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 14:41.

Getting this product up and running was straightforward. You need to charge it for a few hours, then call the customer support number they send you, talk to a representative to verify things like where you live etc, and then do a "test" in which you press the button, talk to a responder, and get the green light to start using it.

In talking to the service representative and reading the manual I learned a few useful things.

  • Battery life is 36 hours, and you need to charge it for 4 hours at the end of that period. So it is a bit like my phone. You need to charge it most nights for convenient operation. This might be fine if it is mainly used when you are out and about. If I worried about having an emergency at night while sleeping I guess I could have the charging station on the bedside table.
  • You can turn the pendant off by double pressing the emergency button. This was a relief as I wanted a way to do that sometimes to be totally sure the button was not pressed by accident.
  • The company suggests testing periodically. They "require you" to test monthly but say more frequent testing is totally fine.

Contract, and business details

As mentioned earlier, the user of this product rents all the equipment in return for the monthly fee. You can terminate any time (subject to a minum 3 month term), and if you terminate you need to ship the equipment back. There is a section about the company being able to terminate the contract if you have "too many" false alarms.

 

Using it

Written By: Richard Caro.  Last Updated: Thu, 11/17/2016 - 14:32.

I wore it around for a few days and here are a few observations.

  • The very first time I wore it, I left the house, jumped in my car and it started talking to me. It told me that I had set off an "alert". By this time I was driving and when I got to it, it was too late to cancel the "alert", but the responder came on the line through the pendant and asked if I was OK, and when I said it was a false alarm she pleasantly told me that was quite OK and that she would cancel the alert. Not sure if I had it on the wrong part of my belt where I pressed it on sitting down. I moved it to the side of my belt and continued my day.
  • I still like the belt clip, but it is actually designed for a rather narrow belt and does not work quite right on the belt I normally wear.

Here you can see it in action.

Premium Guardian belt clip

Testing completed

Written By: Richard Caro.  Last Updated: Sat, 01/02/2016 - 15:59.

After wearing this product on and off for a couple of months, here are our closing thoughts.

The product is easy to use and performs pretty well. As we explain in the article below, it did not make it to the "best of breed" list, but it was not all that far behind.

View "Comparative testing: Go Anywhere Medical Alerts."

The main reasons this product did not make the "best" list, is that it is a very similar product concept to the GreatCall Splash but fell a little short of that products performance in several areas.And it costs more.

GPS seems a bit weak

Location capability seems to be the achilles heel of this product. It failed to deliver a location within a block of actual location on 7 out of 14 tests (50%). On 6 occasions it reported a location more than 10 blocks from where I actually was, and two of those were in a different county. This was considerably less good performance than any of the other "Go Anywhere" products in the comparative test linked to above.

Our theory, based on the way the locations seemed to behave, is that the system updates only periodically. So if you have been moving around it takes time (seems like it could be 15-30 minutes in the worst case) before getting the correct location. While other products also show some signs of this phenomenon the performance of this one was a lot worse than any of the others we tested.

Speed pretty good

One of the areas we tested was speed of response. In our tests, the average time from pressing the button to hearing a responder was 44 seconds. In 14 trials spread out over a month, the maximum response time was 70 seconds, and the response time was over 60 seconds on 4 occasions (27%). The fastest response was about 20 seconds.

Read the comparative testing article above to see how this compares with other products.

Other comments

This product is waterproof to a specific standard called  IP67: ("highly water resistant: submerged in water for up to 3 feet and up to 30 minutes"). As are the competitors GreatCall Splash and Philips Lifeline GoSafe.

 

 

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Product Line & Company: Medical Guardian

Medical Guardian sells an example of each of the major types of medical alert systems — except for an App for your smartphone. The company is frequently near the top of various online review sites.

For in home use they have the traditional systems with either cellular or landline connection to the responders. They offer an example of an out and about system that has an accompanying mobile base station. And the new "Premium Guardian is an example of a go-anywhere pendant that does not require a mobile base station, but which can communicate directly from the pendant to the responders (via cell signal). .........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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