Philips Lifeline Review Summary
Philips Lifeline is frequently regarded as the largest medical alert systems company in the US. They have extensive brand name recognition. The Lifeline system is a quality one. Beyond that, what distinguishes their service from others is the additional options provided. Lifeline’s premium plan offers an auto fall alert pendant. Users can also opt for their new GoSafe system that extends the reach of the system to the outdoors. Their prices are somewhat higher than those of competitors. For seniors looking for medical alert services, be prepared to pay a premium price.
GoSafe Mobile Solution – A cutting edge mobile medical alert button that works both at home and out of the home. It is waterproof, detects falls automatically and incorporates GPS technology. It does cost more than their regular service (From $54.95/month + $149 for the button).
No long term contracts – With Lifeline, you pay month to month and can cancel the service at anytime with 30 days notice. In case plans change and the service is no longer needed, there is little hassle to end the service.
Higher prices and fees – The main negative against Lifeline is the higher expenses involved. Choosing their system could mean paying extra for activation and/or installation fees. While their current price of $29.95 for new customers is their lowest to-date, there are no discounts for prepayments made on a quarterly or annual basis either, a pricing feature that many companies offer.
We recommend that shoppers compare Philips Lifeline to what is very similarly offered by other top rated home personal emergency response system companies. As with purchasing anything, if time allows, it’s always good to first compare and then decide. See the Compare Medical Alert Systems chart.
Philips Lifeline Detailed Review
The Philips Lifeline medical alert system is a product of the Royal Philips company from the Netherlands. Their parent company, Royal Philips, has a large global healthcare division that is focused on providing home healthcare and patient monitoring devices. Lifeline itself is located in Framingham, MA. Lifeline is a company that prides itself on innovation and quality, with 35 years of experience in providing products that enable seniors to live independently at home.
Given the size and backing of their corporate headquarters, one can assume that this is a company with the resources to devote to research and development of quality products. Their website states that they were creators of the original personal emergency response system.
The Lifeline medical alert service is widely known and bought by users given their long history and entrenched distribution network. A lot of community organizations, hospitals and doctors’ offices retail their products. For the elderly needing such a service, Lifeline is very likely one of the first brands that people hear about. Their service is available nationwide US and in Canada. As of 2009, they listed a subscriber base of 750,000 users in North America.
How It Works
Lifeline Video Review Notes & Pictures
Lifeline’s standard home medical alert system consists of a base unit that connects to a phone line, and a waterproof help button worn as a necklace or bracelet. The senior user presses a button in case of an emergency. This connects him or her a trained emergency response agent who will speak with the user and call for help. Their monitoring service operates 24/7 round the clock, every day of the year. Typical response times are within 20 – 30 seconds according to their internal tracking.
The standard Lifeline senior medical alert service costs as low as $29.95 monthly for new customers, and goes all the way up to $64.95 monthly for their premium GoSafe home and mobile alert bundle. Their catalog lists an additional cost for activation that runs around $50, but it is sometimes waived. Optional installation fees could add an extra $40 to the initial set-up cost, but again this is sometimes waived.
Lifeline’s prices are generally a little higher than those of its competitors, but it also has higher brand recognition than most other companies. If you need an auto fall alert service, the system cost starts at $44.95 a month. Their AutoAlert service that connects through a cellular network instead of a traditional phone line costs $56.95 per month.
Towards the end of 2014, Philips introduced its new GoSafe Mobile Alert GPS system that allows for both at-home and out-of-home use. Pricing starts at $54.95 a month, plus $149 for the button.
Payments are charged monthly and users are free to cancel anytime with 30 days notice. There are no worries about long term contracts, which is a plus.
The medical alert base console, called the CarePartner Communicator unit, is both attractive looking and reliable. The speakerphone and microphone on the console is sensitive and loud, allowing for clear communications between the user and the emergency response agent handling the call.
The equipment, including the base console or pendant, adheres to various industry standards. For example, Lifeline’s base CarePartner Communicator unit meets with ETL standards. It also has in-built self-checking mechanisms to alert users or their monitoring center if the phone line is off or if battery runs low.
Users can choose to either use a wrist strap or wear the pendant as a necklace. These are waterproof and can be worn while showering. The buttons have a battery life of up to 5 years. If you need an additional button for your spouse, there is an additional cost of $10 a month. The company will send out replacement batteries and repair/replace equipment within their lifetime warranty guidelines.
To ensure that the system is working right, the company sends out weekly testing signals to monitor that the system is functioning. In addition to that, it’s always a good idea for users to make periodic (eg. monthly) test calls to ensure that one’s system is working.
Phone Line Options
The classic time-tested Lifeline CarePartner Communicator unit works best with a regular land telephone line. Connecting the communicator unit to a VoIP line is possible, but not advised. If you have a VoIP line, be sure to discuss this with a representative when ordering.
In early 2014, Philips Lifeline introduced their new HomeSafe Wireless System which allows customers to access Lifeline’s medical alert services even without a phone line at home. The communicator unit includes a wireless connection that will connect users to their emergency response monitoring center.
Installation of this senior alert service can be done with the help of professional installers by appointment. They will set up the system, test it, and answer questions that the user may have. The advantage of this is that a user need not worry about setting things up personally or finding someone who can help him or her. The disadvantage of this is that it means extra set-up costs that range from $40 to $60.
To stay competitive, the company is increasingly allowing customers to choose self-installation. This allows users to save on installation costs. The equipment is shipped out to the user’s home and it is easy to set-up. The instructions are included and the user or the person helping with the installation can call Lifeline customer support for help as well.
The range of the system is up to 800 ft, depending on the environment. This range is suitable for most homes and apartments. One advantage of the system is that it allows for the addition of more voice extender units (at extra cost) for large homes, or in basements and attics. These are independent speakerphone units that connect to a phone jack and a power source.
Monitoring Center Support
Philips Lifeline runs their own monitoring center, which allows them more direct quality control in dealing with emergency phone calls. There is also the added assurance of a stand-by backup call center in the case of any event that prevents the main monitoring center from performing. As mentioned, monitoring is provided 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Sometimes, power can go off in the home. When that happens, users can be assured that there is a backup battery source for up to 30 hours built into the system. This allows the system to continue functioning until power is restored.
Philips Lifeline AutoAlert option
A key highlight of the Lifeline medical alert system is that it also offers the auto fall alert option. Sometimes, users can fall down, become unconsciousness, and therefore cannot press the help button even though they need to be helped. That’s when an AutoAlert becomes important. There is a sensor built into the necklace pendant that senses a fall.
When a fall is detected, an alert call is automatically placed to the monitoring center and a Personal Response Associate can call for help accordingly. Based on feedback from their customers, Philips Lifeline believes that the sensor can detect 95% of falls. No system can guarantee a 100% accuracy, and sometimes, there can be false alerts issued.
Philips Lifeline Medication Dispenser
Besides the senior home medical alert service, Lifeline also offers a separate medication dispensing service. This service regularly costs $75 a month, but they run promotions from time to time that could lower the price. There is a one-time installation fee of $85 when installation is performed by a Lifeline technician. This is a separate service that reminds users to take their pills. The user will load their medication into the dispenser and be reminded at set times. Should they miss their medicine dose, a call will be placed to them, a family member or caregiver.
The dispenser is connected to the senior’s telephone line, so if the senior misses a dose, the dispenser can contact you or another family member. You can then check on the senior to make sure they are getting their medication.
Philips Lifeline GoSafe Home & Mobile Medical Alert System
Philips Lifeline launched its state-of-the-art comprehensive mobile medical alert system at the end of Oct 2014. This new all-encompassing systems is called GoSafe. With this mobile medical alert system, users can wear and use the help button pendant both at home and outdoors. This system will consist of a base station unit that will be placed at home, and an Auto Alert pendant the works both with the base station at home, and in a standalone manner when the users go out. This system also comes with automated fall alert detection.
The system subscription starts at $54.95 a month, and there is a requirement to purchase a GoSafe mobile button for $149. if you are interested in the GoSafe system, a good product to compare it with is the Great Call Splash. The Great Call Splash is less elaborate than GoSafe, but it incorporates the critical main features like mobile in/out of home use, being waterproof and having fall detection (optional).
Philips Lifeline has received 28 complaints in the last 3 years (as of July 2016) according to the Better Business Bureau. Overall, it has a BBB rating of A+. Of the 28 complaints, 12 were resolved to the satisfaction of complainants and 16 were addressed by Lifeline but the complainants either remained unhappy or did not indicate whether they were satisfied or dissatisfied. Given the size of Philips Lifeline (probably the company with most subscribers in the industry), one can expect that there will be some complaints. To compare, Connect America, another large medical alert systems company drew over 304 complaints within the same timeframe.
With Lifeline, it seemed that there were a few grouses with customer support and the way that their emergency phone calls were handled, or with payments. The good news is that almost all the BBB complaints were resolved. You can read the reviews here.
Philips Lifeline is the largest medical alert systems company in the US and Canada, by virtue of it’s recognized brand name and wide distribution relationships with healthcare providers and other organizations. There are other companies that provide very similar services with a less expensive price tag. If you are new to medical alarm systems, it may be worthwhile to shop around and compare various systems before you decide. You can take a look at the Medical Alert Systems Reviews page to learn more.
While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this review, the information is supplied without warranties of any kind. We advise all readers to do careful due diligence before purchasing. Take time to visit the company’s website or speak with their representatives.