Lone Working in Healthcare
A study by the Royal College of Nursing identified that almost half of nursing staff based in the community have been subjected to abuse during the last two years.
There are a vast and varied number of lone worker roles in healthcare, including but not limited to: ambulance personnel, patient transport services, receptionists, community mental health workers, outreach workers, social workers, carers in the community, security staff, etc. Therefore, it’s imperative that, whether they’re private or public, healthcare organisations have a solution in place to protect their most vulnerable workers.
Lone working occurs within different healthcare settings and is not, or cannot, always be foreseen. Sufficient risk assessments must be completed, clear systems need to be in place, adequate training must be completed, and clear communication and reporting should be provided.
Lone worker policies and appropriate training can be invaluable when it comes to protecting your staff and providing a suitable duty of care. A well-informed and appropriately trained team significantly reduces risk. The Royal College of Nursing have also provided this handy little pocket guide, with plenty of tips and hints for working alone.
These are all essential processes for protecting your lone working team, however, advances in technology are affording organisations greater solutions to keep your workforce safe.
Devices such as the SoloProtect ID, use mobile phone and GNSS technology to deliver a leading lone worker solution via compelling technology.
SoloProtect ID is designed as an identity card holder in order to be discreet and easy to use. At the push of a button it enables a 24/7 link to a EN50518 and BS 8591 accredited Alarm Receiving Centre in the event a worker requires assistance. The lone worker can then be located and the situation escalated accordingly. The solution provides audio capture for evidence of verbal abuse – to inform better reporting of incidents, training and best practice feedback, and as credible evidence in legal proceedings, should it be required at a later date.
Healthcare workers face a vast array of risk, including physical violence and abuse. Because of this increased risk of violence, the Royal College of Nursing believes that nursing staff should have access to an effective means of raising the alarm. In most cases this would need to be more than just a mobile phone, panic alarm or buddy system. A mobile phone may not be easily accessible and is not discreet, therefore, using it during an incident could further escalate an already problematic situation. Along with appropriate policies and training, lone worker devices can make a real difference to vulnerable workers, not just in healthcare but all sectors.