Whether you’re a nurse, respiratory therapist case worker or equipment delivery person – you make a meaningful difference in the lives of children and adults who are seriously ill. However, going into new neighborhoods and visiting people in their homes puts you at risk. At Guard Llama we think about minimizing risk – so here are some tips to help you stay safe while you help others.
Less is More
If you visit a lot of different neighborhoods – some of which aren’t always safe — you’ll be less of a target if you leave these items at home or at work:
- Jewelry — including wedding rings and expensive watches, buy an inexpensive watch to use for home visits.
- Electronics – only carry your cell telephone – leave your iPad, laptop and other electronics at home or work – unless you need them for your visit
- Designer bags or purses – use a plain bag or purse to carry your belongings
- Dress shoes – change into comfortable shoes that allow you to walk quickly
- If you use your own car, make sure anything interesting like a nice stereo, extra clothing or equipment is locked in your trunk before you begin your drive. Loading it into your trunk once you arrive only highlights your belongings.
Also, reduce the contents of your wallet to the basics, Drivers’ License, Insurance Card and one credit card. If you are robbed, you won’t have to cancel as many cards.
At the visit
When visiting patients who live in apartment buildings, ask your patient’s family member to meet you at the main entrance and walk you to their unit. This reduces the risk of dark stairwells, broken elevators and dark hallways.
If no one can meet you, use these tips:
- Take the elevator alone – wait until you can have the elevator to yourself, use your equipment as an excuse if needed.
- Some elevators will allow you to express to your floor – without stopping on other floors. Hold the close door until the doors close, but keep holding the button. Select your floor and do not let go of the number and close door button until the elevator moves.
- Don’t allow others to stand behind you in an elevator, make sure your back is against the elevator wall.
- Carry a flashlight for use in dark stairwells and hallways.
When you need Help
Following home healthcare safety best practices reduces your risk and helps you focus on your patient’s well being – but sometimes you still need help. Here are some tips for getting help.
- Run first – get as far away from the threat as possible before you call 911.
- Drop your belongings – your attacker may slow down or stop to pick them up – buying you time to get away.
- Carry a personal alarm like Guard Llama that allows you to initiate a 911 call by clicking a button. Guard Llama goes on your key chain – so you can drop everything else to distract the attacker and still call for help. Its easy to use – even when your adrenaline is flowing!
About Guard Llama
Guard Llama protects you by pairing a key fob with the Guard Llama cell phone app. In an emergency, press the button on the fob twice. The fob sends a Bluetooth signal to the Guard Llama app on your phone, alerting our Emergency Dispatch Center. We send your GPS location, photo, and medical information to the Emergency Dispatch Center. It also alerts anyone you have on your Friends & Family Contact List. Because they have your exact location within 9 feet and know what you look like, they can find you up to 3X faster than if you’d called 911 directly.