A Guide to Careline Alarms in 2020

Wondering what a careline alarm is, who can use one, or how it works? Our guide aims to give you those answers and more.

Need more information? Request a free info pack, send us a message, or give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.
A wrist-worn fall alarm and the base unit

What is a careline alarm?

A careline alarm is simply a set of equipment that lets you easily call for help when you need it – for example when you become hurt and need emergency care.

The first part of a careline alarm is the pendant – an SOS button that you can press in an emergency. The pendant is small, lightweight, and is usually worn on your wrist or on a lanyard around your neck. Some alarms can automatically detect when you take a fall and raise the alert for you – these are known as fall alarms.

The other part is the base unit. This monitors your pendant and then calls for help. Depending on the type of careline alarm that you choose, your alarm can either notify a carer or loved one – or it can contact a care team who have access to the emergency services if needed.

What is a careline service?

Simply put, a careline service provides you with the assurance that you can get help whenever you need it – instead of relying on a carer, friend, or loved one.

Taking out a plan with a careline service (such as Telecare24) means that when you press the button or take a fall, a professional care team will answer your call and get you the help that you need as quickly as possible.

A careline emergency responder
An elderly man sitting down with a walking stick

Who are careline alarms for?

Careline alarms are ideal for vulnerable people who want to retain their independence both at home and outdoors.

While the vast majority of careline users are older, these devices are used by people of all age groups in various situations, including:

  • People living alone
  • Less abled people and those living with a disability
  • People who are prone to falling over
  • Anyone with unpredictable health problems

What if I don’t have a phone line?

Not all careline alarms need a telephone line in order to work. GSM careline alarms are the modern-day equivalent of the traditional careline alarm system.

These clever devices use SIM card technology and the mobile phone network, meaning that you can use them anywhere – at home, in the garden, or out walking the dog.

Be sure to check the mobile signal reception in your home and local area before buying a GSM alarm.

An active senior woman walking her dog outdoors

How do careline alarms work?

1

Call for help

Simply press the button on your pendant alarm or press the button on the base unit to call for help.

If you fall over and you are wearing a fall alarm, the device will automatically raise the alert for you.

2
A white careline alarm base unit, and a black pendant button

We answer

A few moments later, our care team will begin speaking to you through the loudspeaker on the base unit.

If you have a Buddi GPS alarm, instead of a base unit, you will have a small clip with a built-in microphone and loudspeaker.

3
A careline operator speaking with a customer who has raised the alarm

Help is on hand

We will then assess your situation to determine what kind of help you need. We can either notify one of your approved contacts, or we can contact the emergency services.

If for any reason we cannot make contact with you to check that you are okay, we will call the emergency services right away.

4
A happy careline alarm user wearing a Telecare24 fall alarm and sitting in her kitchen with a cup of tea

By your side

Whenever possible, our team will continue speaking to you until help arrives, keeping you calm and reducing the risk of further injury.

Once we know you are in safe hands and are being taken care of, we will end the call.

An older woman wearing a fall alarm while standing in the garden holding gardening gloves

Do careline alarms work outdoors?

Most careline alarms should work up to a range of 100-200 metres from the base unit, depending on the equipment that you choose. That’s usually enough for most homes and gardens.

If you need a careline alarm that reaches even further, you’ll need a mobile careline alarm like the Buddi, available exclusively from Telecare24.

What are GSM/IP careline alarms, and why are they important?

In short, a GSM alarm has a SIM card inside and uses the mobile phone network to function, while an IP careline alarm uses the broadband connection in your home. Neither of these needs a landline telephone in order to work.

With the development of new technology and the wide availability of broadband, the UK telephone network will eventually move from analogue to digital. What that means for the careline industry is that, by then, all careline alarm units will need to work either using GSM or IP or both.

We’re confident that this change is several years away, so we’re still offering regular landline alarms to our customers. For now, we’re continuing to monitor the situation and are rigorously testing new products to make sure that whatever we offer our customers in the future meets our high standards.

A Buddi GPS careline alarm clip and wrist strap (charcoal variant)
Multiple careline alarm pendants

I’ve also heard of personal alarms, telecare alarms, and lifeline alarms. What is the difference?

In our case, they all mean the same thing!

Careline alarms have been given many different names over the years. Among the most common are personal alarms, telecare alarms, and lifeline alarms. Others names include SOS buttons, help alarms, panic buttons, and alert devices.

On top of that, the actual monitoring can be referred to as a careline service, a lifeline service, a telecare service, or even just ‘telecare’.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long will my new careline alarm take to arrive?
    All of our parcels are dispatched via DPD’s Next Working Day Priority Service. That means if you place your order by 1pm on a Monday, you can expect your careline alarm to arrive on Tuesday – meaning you can get up and running with our careline service in under 24hrs. Any orders placed after 1pm should arrive just one working day later.

    Please note: In light of COVID-19, some deliveries may take a little longer to arrive.

    DPD cannot guarantee next working day delivery to some locations. For more information, see Delivery.
  • What does the initial £45 set-up fee cover?
    This non-refundable fee enables us to prepare your careline alarm and collate all of your medical and emergency contact details on our systems.
  • Why do I have to pay a £30 restocking fee when I cancel?
    The £30 restocking fee is to cover the cost of shipping of the returned equipment, the de-programming and refurbishment of the rented units, the closing of the account with our external monitoring centre and also for the administration costs included in all of those processes.

    Unlike many of our competitors, we don’t tie our customers in for a full 12 months. This means you can cancel at any time and receive a pro-rata refund based on the number of days remaining on the account. The £30 restocking fee will then be deducted from this amount.
  • Do I have to pay extra if I press my pendant to contact you?

    The simple answer is no, as everything is included in your plan. We do not charge you any extra if you activate your alarm.

    The following information may be helpful concerning call costs:

    If you press your pendant, the careline alarm will contact our control centre using an 0844 number via your telephone line. These numbers are recommended by OFCOM for contacting organisations such as Telecare24.  Your telephone service provider may charge you for these calls. Please check your phone providers tariff or visit OFCOM for further details. We do not apply any levy on these call costs.

  • Am I tied into a fixed term contract for my careline alarm?
    No. Unlike most other careline providers, we do not tie you into any contract. This means if your circumstances change then you can cancel your service. All we ask is you give us 30 days notice and return the equipment.
  • How do I pay for my careline alarm service?
    Ordering your careline alarm is super easy and we have a number of payment options available:
    1. Direct Debit: This is the safest and simplest way to pay for your alarm. You won’t pay anything on the day of purchase and we will write to you when your Direct Debit is set up to take payment. We will still dispatch your unit for next working day delivery.
    2. Credit / Debit: The quickest way to pay. You can use your card using our secure online payment service, which is processed immediately and gets your order on the way! 
    3. Cheque: Some people still like to use a cheque as a method of payment. As soon as we receive your cheque we will dispatch your alarm.
    4. Paypal: Our latest method of payment. You can order your careline alarm with one click through the Paypal’s secure payment system.
  • Can I purchase a careline alarm without paying VAT?
    If you have a long term medical condition, HMRC allow you to purchase our careline alarm VAT free. Examples of qualifying conditions include  Arthritis, COPD, Diabetes, Parkinson’s, Deafness / Hard of Hearing, Partial Sight or Stroke. More information is available in our blog post.

    To order your careline alarm VAT free, select your plan and complete the VAT exemption section at our checkout (section 4). There’s nothing else for you to do. 

    Under HMRC rules, please note that a keysafe and keysafe installation options will always have VAT applied, regardless of your VAT exemption status.

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  • Who can use our careline service?
    The service we offer is ideal for anyone who may live alone at home who wants to stay independent. 

    A careline alarm is especially helpful if you have a long term medical condition such as arthritis, angina, diabetes or a have had a stroke.

    Our Fall Plan is particularly helpful if you have become a little unsteady on your feet and may be susceptible to a fall.
     
    A pendant alarm also offers peace of mind for people who have family who live some distance away or for individuals who may be vulnerable and need assistance occasionally.

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  • What do I get for my monthly or annual fee?
    Whichever plan you choose  you will receive everything you need. This includes:
    • Telecare24 careline alarm base unit and connecting cables.
    • Waterproof pendant with wearing kit ( lanyard and wrist band).
    • Fall sensor (Fall Plan only)
    • Access to our 24/7 careline monitoring team.

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  • How do I wear my careline Pendant?
    We provide you with a full wearing kit with your Careline Alarm that includes options to wear on your wrist, neck or belt clip. This kit allows you to change your wearing option at any time should you want to.

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  • How is the careline alarm unit installed?
    The alarm unit can be located virtually anywhere in your home. You will need a telephone line with a modern phone socket and a mains power point close by. Telecare24 uses the existing telephone line – you do not need another installed.

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  • Can I install the careline alarm unit myself?
    Yes. The Telecare24 Careline unit simply needs to be plugged into your existing telephone socket and also needs to be plugged into the mains for power. It really is that simple.

    If you don’t feel confident doing this yourself, you always have the option of having your alarm professionally installed by our engineers. You can order this at when you go to the checkout.

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  • How many key holders do I need to have?
    Ideally, we would suggest you have one key holder who lives within 20 minutes of your home.

    We appreciate that this is not always possible. If you do not have a trusted friend or relative living close by, all we ask is that you have a key safe installed. This will allow authorised people to access to your home in the event of an emergency.

    Telecare24 can arrange for a key safe to be supplied and installed. Just select that option when you purchase your alarm in the checkout.
  • How is the careline alarm unit activated?
    There are two ways to activate the Telecare24 Careline alarm unit and get help from the Careline alarm centre:

    1. By pressing the red button on the base unit.
    2. By pressing the button on your pendant or wrist band.
    3. If you have a fall sensor, this will automatically activate the alarm if you fall. You can also use it as a normal pendant.

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  • What happens when I press the red button on my careline alarm unit or pendant?
    When you press the button on your Careline unit or pendant, it connects you to our care team. Our operator will have your details on the screen, which include your name, address, doctor, key holder and next of kin information as well as any relevant medical details.

    We will speak to you via the powerful loudspeaker and microphone in the base unit to establish your situation and decide the best course of action.

    If possible we will stay on the line with you until help arrives. If we call the emergency services, your next of kin will be also be informed. No call will be cancelled until the operator is sure the call has been dealt with appropriately.

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  • What happens if I cannot hear you or speak to you?
    Don’t worry, if we have received a call and do not get a response, we will telephone you back immediately. If you do not respond to that call, the operator will have all the information they need to know where to send help and will ask one of your nominated key holders to visit you and check you are safe and well. If you have no local contacts we will call the emergency services. No call will be cancelled until the operator is sure the call has been dealt with appropriately.
  • Can I talk through my pendant?

    If you select the Standard or Fall plan, the pendant supplied activates the Careline Alarm base unit. Even though you cannot speak through the pendant, the powerful microphone in the base unit is extremely sensitive and will enable you to converse normally with our Operator.

     

  • Do I wear my pendant in bed?
    Yes –  you can wear your pendant in bed.
  • Can I order an extra pendant?
    Yes you can. This is an excellent idea if you have someone else living in your home who may also benefit from using a Telecare24 careline alarm or you would like another one handy placed in another location in the home. There is no extra monthly fee for the additional pendant. If there is a second user in the home you just need to provide us with their details.

    Additional pendants are available at the checkout when you purchase your alarm for a one-off price of just £49. This month, if you order the Fall plan you get a pendant for Free!

    If you are an existing customer and require an additional pendant, then please call 0800 1808540 and we can arrange for one to be delivered to you.
  • Can I wear my pendant in the bath?
    The pendant we supply is waterproof. However, we generally suggest you put your pendant at low level in the bathroom so you can reach it if you fall or get stuck in the bath. The pendant is fine to wear in the shower or bath but should not be fully submerged under water.
  • What happens if I press my careline alarm unit or pendant accidentally?
    If you press either button by mistake just tell the operator when they speak to you that it is an accidental call and they will cancel it. The operator will be pleased that you are safe.
  • Do I need to check that my pendant is working?
    Yes. Ideally, you should activate your pendant at least once a month and make a test call to our team. It gives you the reassurance that your alarm is working and lets us know its fine too.

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  • Will my careline alarm unit work if there is a power cut?
    Yes. Your Careline unit will still work as it has a battery back up which will power the unit for approximately 48 hours.
  • What happens if my equipment develops a fault?
    Generally, it is rare for our units to develop a fault. In the unlikely event that an issue occurs our team will aim to quickly resolve any fault, replacing your unit if the fault cannot be fixed remotely.

    The pendant has batteries which will last for approximately 3-5 years and has an excellent reputation for reliability.

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How would you like to receive your free info pack?

By requesting an information pack you are giving Telecare24 permission to use the details supplied to contact you with relevant information about our services. You can withdraw your consent whenever you want by contacting us. You can view our Privacy Policy here