As a Home Care Nurse for a large city agency, I sometimes find myself in parts of the city that cause me some concern. The VNA where I work provides escorts upon request in some areas of town. However, I sometimes get so busy I forget to request them until too late. So I go ahead with my visit because I do not want to reschedule with the patient so late in the day. Are there any tips for ways I can maximize my safety?
Personal safety is always a top priority and with a few small changes in your daily routine you can feel a lot more confident that you are doing everything possible to keep yourself safe. We all wish our visits could be made to those “vine-covered cottages with picket fences” but the reality is that most of us provide home care in anything but optimal conditions. Here are just a few suggestions:
- Know the areas your agency considers unsafe, and plot them on a map. Early in the day or week, pinpoint the location of each visit on your map.
- Try to schedule those visits during the daylight, and avoid unsafe areas at night.
- Ask for your agency’s policy for providing escorts and memorize the advance time required for your request.
- Let your client know when you will be arriving, if possible, to facilitate quick entry into the home.
- Be observant and survey the area when approaching the client’s home. Drive at a normal rate of speed (driving too slow could attract unwanted attention), and, if illegal or dangerous activity appears to be occurring, keep driving to a safe area and notify the agency and client and police if necessary. When In Doubt Get Out!
- Consider the use of taxicabs, neighborhood watch groups or police escorts if those are appropriate to your areas.
- When entering a home look for exits, weapons, and dangerous situations.
- Always lock the car. Do not leave articles in plain sight to avoid the risk of theft.
- Last but definitely not least, keep your car in good working condition no matter where you are providing home care visits.
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