Wired Alarms Selection Criteria Explanations
Convenience : If the bedwetting alarm is not easy to use for the patient and caregiver, their motivation to continue to use it may suffer.
Easy to attach/detach alarm Sensor : Important for patient and caregiver.
Quick and easy to clean sensor : Important for patient and caregiver.
Quick and easy to reuse sensor and system : Important for patient and caregiver.
Comfort : Comfort for the patient is important for keeping the patient motivated, while locating the alarm so that it is effective.
Alarm attaches to : Important for the patient. What item of clothing or part of the body does the alarm attach to so that the alarm will be effective and the patient comfortable? A conveniently located part of clothing is preferable (for example, near the ear).
How does the Alarm attach to Clothing : Important for the patient. The method of attachment and its quality affects ease of use, comfort, and wear and tear on clothing.
Clip/Attachment Grips Cloth Tightly without Damaging Cloth : Important for the patient and caregiver. The alarm should maintain its position, and the attachment mechanism should not be destructive to clothing.
Size of Alarm Box : Important for the patient. Indicative of comfort. Pay attention to the alarm features provided and how effective they may be to wake the patient.
Weight of Alarm box only (No clip or batteries) : Important for the patient. This is worn by the patient.
Weight of Alarm box with clip and batteries : Important for the patient. This is worn by the patient and heavier items may be less comfortable, even if attached to shirts.
Flexibility : Both the patient and caregiver benefit from flexibility.
Allows patient to actively move around : Important for patient and caregiver.
Can be used with standard cotton underwear : Important for patient and caregiver to control costs.
Durability : Particularly important to the caregiver or party paying for the device.
Can be used many times > 300 : 300 uses is a arbitrary number, as most patients should not need more than 300 activations.
Can be used many times > 300 without supplies : Cost of supplies over time can be significant.
Sensor is sturdy and will not break easily.
Effectiveness : How well and reliably the device works is of great important to patient and caregiver.
Alarm Loudness at 4" (20 cms) from ear : Alarms are frequently used to wake the patient by sound. 4” (20 cms) is a typical distance from an ear for an alarm at a shirt collar.
Alarm Loudness at 8" (40 cms) from ear : Alarms are frequently used to wake the patient by sound. 8” (40 cms) is a typical distance from an ear for an alarm worn at the upper end of a shirt front.
Volume Control : Desirable, to change the volume level. Some alarms can be too loud and can “scare” younger children.
Volume Control (Continuous or Steps) : Some volume controls may have as few as two steps (loud and less loud). Others may have more steps, and some may have an "infinite" control. More steps and "infinite" control allow the caregiver and user to set the loudness as desirable.
Vibration : Important for the patient. Many alarms provide a vibration that can be felt by the patient. Some patients may respond better to a vibration than to sound.
Sound + Vibration : Important for the patient. Many alarms provide a combination of sound and vibration. Some patients may respond better to this combination.
Sensor can be attached at point of urination : The closer to the point of urination, the sooner the sensor will sense urination.
Sensor Type : The type of sensor can affect its ease of use and its performance. All sensor of a certain type are not equally sensitive. Importantly, the useful life of a sensor can vary substantially depending on its design and construction.
Type of attachment of Sensor at Briefs : The type of sensor can affect convenience, comfort and quickness to sense urine. The manner in which it is attached may involve buying supplies for attachment, and also require more time and hassle.
Connector from Sensor Cable to Alarm box : The sensor connector must be such that it will not come loose or dislodge while the patient sleeps or moves around.
Firm Connection from Sensor Cable to Alarm box : The sensor connector must stay in place during use. Most manufacturers use a plastic telephone-plug type connector with a lock (616E, RJ11, RJ12, etc.) which are unlike to dislodge unintentionally. Some manufacturers still use simple circular plugs (3.5mmRCA, etc.) which can come out more easily.
Sensor cable length : The sensor cable must be long enough to comfortable connect the alarm box to the point of urination while the patient sleeps and moves around. A somewhat long sensor can be wrapped under the shirt. A short sensor cannot be used. For large or tall patients, a longer sensor may be required.
Weight & Size : Lighter alarms and sensors improve comfort for the patient. Smaller alarms MAY be more comfortable to use.
Size : Smaller size MAY be more comfortable. But smaller size may also use smaller batteries with shorter battery life, and small speakers (softer sound) and less features.
Shipping Weight : Only used as an indicator of shipping costs.
Total sensor and connecting wire weight : Most sensors weigh very close to each other.
Cost : Of concern to the person paying for the alarm and its use in money, time and effort.
Cost for complete kit (Alarm & Sensor) : Up-front cost for the bedwetting alarm system.
Cost for extra Sensor : Most sensors have a more limited time warranty than the alarm box. Consider the simplicity and materials of a sensor to understand sensor life. Stainless steel (most often used for clips) tend to last longer than larger pads (particularly flexible pads).
No additional Disposable supplies needed (tape, pads, sewing, special pants, etc.) : Saves cost and hassle.
NO time & effort spent with supplies : Saves cost and hassle of continuous supplies needed.
Batteries Required : Consider the Cost of batteries, and also the Power Capacity, which affects both battery life and how much power can be provided for loudness, vibrations, and other alarm features.
Warranty : Indicator of minimum useful life. Shorter warranties suggest more replacement costs and hassle.
Alarm Box : For the alarm box itself (does not include the sensor) this varies from one year to one month.
Sensor: Many manufacturers provide a shorter warranty for the sensor as this part if more prone to wear-and-tear, misuse, and decay.
Certifications : Certifications indicate that the alarm meets established standards.
Certifications Provided : These may be necessary to meet legal requirements for sale and use in various countries, and meets established safety and performance standards. Consider using only devices that have needed certifications and are not violating local laws.
USA FDA Registered : Applicable to the U.S.A. Required by U.S. Laws and regulations. Unregistered devices cannot be legally shipped from U.S. sources, and the manufacturer, seller and shipper can be penalized. Consider using only devices that have needed registrations and are not in violation of U.S. laws.