Work-related violence against in-home health professionals is an often unspoken, but major issue. Not many new workers realize when they enter the profession that they may be targets of assaults. This should really not be a surprise, however, because these workers usually become involved with clients during periods of crisis and often interact with clients when they are emotionally labile. Violence in the field often includes physical assault, verbal assault, harassment and the threat of assault. Some assaults may be minor, but others can turn deadly.
In 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported healthcare and social assistance workers were the victims of more than 11,370 assaults, which is a more than 13% increase over the number of assaults in 2009. The numbers have continued to increase since then, with no end in sight. Below, we’ve provided some safety tips that all in-home health professionals can use to help ensure safer home visits.
Always let someone know where you’re going. Let someone in your office or personal life know where and when you are meeting a client. Make sure to let that person know when you expect to get to the location and when you expect to return.
Review intake forms for possible concerns of violence. There will often be notes that either explicitly say, or inherently imply, a risk of violence. Pay attention and prepare yourself accordingly.
Mentally rehearse the visit and what you need to accomplish. Before heading into a visit, rehearse what the visit will go over and your end goals. Having a purpose and knowing what needs to be done will help you get through appointments more effectively and efficiently.
Don’t wear excessive jewelry and dress appropriately. Don’t give potential attackers more of a reason victimize you. Keep your nice jewelry at home, and dress modestly and professionally.
Take your ID with you, but do not wear your ID card around your neck. Always make sure you’re identifiable. You always want to be able to identify yourself to your client, and also in case you need to be identified in an emergency.
Be aware of the exits from the home. Always know the ways to get out of a house in the event of an emergency. If possible, keep yourself between the client and the door to make sure you don’t get trapped.
Use non-threatening body language and remain calm and polite. You are less likely to become a victim of an attack if you show that you are there to help and not hurt.
Respect the client’s home and their emotions. Nobody wants to feel disrespected, especially within his or her own home. Take extra precautions make sure you are showing clients the utmost respect.
Carry a cell phone with you. It’s important to ensure you are able to contact your supervisor or the police in case of an emergency. Make sure you have your phone, and that is charged, at all times.
Leave if you feel threatened or if you notice unlawful or peculiar behavior. Don’t stay in a situation if you feel unsafe. Always report your concerns to your supervisor, or to the police if necessary.
In addition to these helpful safety tips, you can add peace of mind and an extra layer of safety by protecting yourself with Guard Llama’s smart personal security system. Guard Llama was built to protect anyone in any situation, but when it comes to in-home professionals, our system’s benefits highly outweigh the low monthly cost. Visit our website and order your system today.