Philips Lifeline is a pioneer in the field of medical alert systems. The Framingham, MA, based company has been helping seniors for more than 35 years to live independently in their home. The company’s website claims that they were the original creators of personal emergency alert systems. Phillips Lifeline is a subsidiary of Royal Philips. The parent company is located in Netherlands and has a multinational healthcare division that provides home healthcare and medical monitoring devices to seniors and individuals with disabilities.
Lifeline has managed to maintain its quality and popularity over the years. Thanks to the financial support offered by the parent company, it has invested billions of dollars on research and development. The product is available at hospitals, physician’s offices, and retail stores across the globe. The company boasts of more than 750,000 subscribers in United States and Canada and has served close to 7 million seniors over the years.
Products and Services
Lifeline offers two different types of medical alert systems.
- Standard – The standard version consists of a base unit and a waterproof necklace or bracelet containing the help button. The base unit, also known as CarePartner Communicator Unit, is connected to a phone line. In case of an emergency, the senior can talk to a trained response agent by pushing the help button. The agent will contact various emergency services for you and coordinate with them as per your needs.The average response time is 20 to 30 seconds. The monitoring service is available round the clock, every day of the year. Unlike some of its competitors that offer 1,000 feet range, Philips Lifeline parts work well within 800 ft. This distance is ideal for small homes and apartments. If you live in a large house, you can add voice extender units for additional price. All help calls are answered from a call center based in the United States.
- Lifeline with AutoAlert – The necklace or the bracelet consists of a built-in sensor that detects falls. It automatically calls the monitoring center and alerts the response agent. AutoAlert can help save lives, especially when seniors becomes unconsciousness after the fall and are unable to press the help button. The company claims that the sensor is effective in 95 percent of the cases. However, occasional false alerts have been reported.
The company has also come up with other innovative products and services that help seniors live independently.
- Medication Dispenser – Philips Lifeline Medication Dispenseris also connected to the phone line. The senior or a caregiver can fill dispenser with required medications. The system will remind the patient to take the medications at the preset time. If the senior fails to take the medication, the system automatically calls the caregiver. This service typically costs $75 per month. New members pay an installation fee of $85. The company offers special promotions and deals from time to time.
- Home Key Box – You can also add a home key box to your service. It contains a spare key of your house. You can use it if you accidentally lock yourself out of the house. The response agents can also allow paramedics, firefighters and family members to use the key in case of an emergency. A special combination protects the key and keeps it safe on normal days.
- Phillips Lifeline GoSafe Home & Mobile Medical Alert System– This is a mobile medical alert system that help seniors enjoy the outdoors without worrying about emergencies. It consists of a base unit that should be placed at home. The necklace or the bracelet can, however, work independently, and seniors can carry them along at all times.
Lifeline offers high quality products that are attractive and reliable. All their equipment, including the base console, the necklace and the bracelet, has been approved by UL quality standards and by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The CarePartner Communicator Unit consists of sensitive and loud speaker and microphone that allow effective communication between the user and the response agent. The red help button is clearly visible and easy to use. It also comes with an in-built mechanism that checks itself and alerts the monitoring center about power outages and low battery. Each system has a 15-hour in-built battery backup system.
The company offers two different types of help buttons. Seniors can choose between a necklace and a bracelet. They are completely waterproof and can be worn at all times. The have a significantly long battery life of five years. The company also expects users to make monthly test calls to ensure proper functioning of the system. They will send you a reminder about the test call. The company also sends replacement batteries and offers free service within the warranty period.
You will require a regular phone line to connect the CarePartner Communicator. If you do not have a traditional phone connection, the company recommends its new HomeSafe Wireless System. The system, which was introduced in early 2014, consists of a communicator unit with a wireless connection that links you to the monitoring center. Voice extender units are independent pieces and require additional phone jacks and power sources.
The CarePartner Communicator can be connected to a Voice over IP (VoIP) or Internet line as well. However, the company does not recommend it. Talk to the service representative for additional information.
The installation policy will depend on the area of service and other factors. You can install the system yourself. You will receive all the instructions. A service representative can help you over the phone. You also save the one-time installation fee of $59.95. This is a great option for those looking to save some money, because Life Alert requires professional installation and charges for this mandatory service.
Unlike some competing medical alert systems, Philips Lifeline also offers professional installation. A trained technician will visit your home at a pre-determined time and set up the system for you. He will test the system and answer your questions during the visit. Many consumers enjoy this service because it ensures everything is connected properly.
Philips Lifeline Customer Service
Apart from response agents, customer service representatives are available to help you with billing, installation and technical issues. Phone is best and the fastest method. You can also leave a note on their website. They will get back to you in one or two business days. The representatives are friendly and knowledgeable. The company has been able to resolve most issues amicably and effectively.
Their website also has a list of frequently asked questions. However, unlike some competitors, Philips Lifeline does not offer Live Chat service to its consumers.
Phillips Lifeline Consumer Feedback
The Better Business Bureau has awarded an A- rating to Philips Lifeline. It has received 30 complaints in the last 3 years. Considering the scale of its operations, this is within the acceptable range. For your comparison, another large medical alert systems company called Connect America received 174 complaints within the same period of time.
All Philips Lifeline complaints were related to products and services. A few customers were unhappy with the way the response agents handled their calls. All the issues were, however, resolved.
Pricing, Value and Activation Fees
Philips Lifeline cost is slightly more expensive than its major competitors. However, its brand value, corporate backing, and reliable service over the years has helped maintain its popularity, market share and making this Philips Lifeline review postive.
The standard Philips Lifeline cost is $29.95 per month. New customers pay an activation fee ranging from $22 to $90 along with an optional installation fee of $59.95. The AutoAlert service will set you back by another $13 to $15 each month. An extra help button for your spouse will cost $10 per month.
Philips Lifeline does not require long-term contracts. You pay each month and are free to cancel with a 30 day notice.