Staying Safe When Lone Working in Domiciliary Care -Top 5 Tips
Lone working in domiciliary care is quite common. It’s an area of work where carers will frequently visit the homes of service users. Whilst the majority of carers will carry out their jobs without incident, there may be times when they have to deal with situations that may cause them distress, fear or injury.
Let’s have a look at what some of the hazards are the top 5 ways to reduce or manage them.
What Are The Hazards of Lone Working in Domiciliary Care?
There are a variety of hazards that could befall a person lone working in domiciliary care, many of them related to the environment and the people they may have to work with.
Violence from service users, their friends or family, or aggressive pets
It is rare that these types of accidents happen, but the number one hazard of working in care is the threat of violent or threatening behaviour. Service users may become angry, or confused and occasionally conflict can occur with family members. Pets can also be a danger, especially if they are let loose when a carer enters a property.
Lack of local knowledge
Care workers will likely visit numerous locations throughout their day. A lack of local knowledge could lead to the worker becoming lost or not have their wits about them in an area they are not familiar with. Every town and city has a hotspot for violence. A place where everyone knows to avoid unless you want to get into some bother, being a visitor to new areas means you are less likely to know where these hotspots are and could see you wandering into the areas unwittingly, leaving you vulnerable to attack.
Accidents with service user equipment or cleaning chemicals
Some service users may have speciality equipment. These can be medical equipment, mobility aids, or equipment to help move them about, such as hoists and slings. These present a variety of hazards, from becoming trapped in equipment to not knowing how to handle malfunctioning equipment. there may also be hazardous equipment present such as oxygen tanks, used for breathing aids.
This hazard applies to most lone workers, as much as we all like to think we are fit and healthy, procedures need to be put into place in case a carer suddenly fell ill or slipped and banged their head. In most cases, the service user may be able to call for help but what if the service user wasn’t capable themselves?
Top 5 Tips For Staying Safe in Domiciliary Care
1) Know how to defuse hostile situations
your employer should train you in how to help calm and defuse situations which turn hostile. Being able to keep calm and handle a situation is a key skill when working with the public and can help turn dangerous situations into much more manageable ones.
2) Stick to locations and people you are scheduled to see
The first time a carer visits a new service user or location, they will be unsure of the situation they are entering and so should remain alert for any sign of threat. If the client to be visited is not present, the carer shouldn’t enter the address and shouldn’t be persuaded to visit another location.
3) Wear your lone worker device
If you have a lone worker device you should keep it charged and to hand at all times. It could save your life. A lone worker device can be a lifesaver in any of the situations mentioned above under hazards. From attacks by pets to malfunctioning equipment. Don’t enter an address without setting an amber alert and having your device close by you or on your person.
4) Participate in the correct training for your role and tasks
Care assistants will have to carry out many tasks which without the correct training, can be dangerous. Do not do any task for which you are not trained. For instance, moving a service user or using their equipment to help you do so. Your employer should give you the right training for the right tasks.
5) Diarise visits
Your employer should know where you are at all times. Not to check up on you but in case of emergency. Even if you carry a lone worker device, your visits should still be scheduled in advance and known to your employer. These recordings should include the time you are due to attend a service users home, and an expected finish time.
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