4 Ways to Boost Staff Safety During Home Visits

Monday, January 20th, 2014
This post was written by Patricia Donovan

Ensuring the safety of staff conducting home visits is a key consideration for organizations caring for recently discharged or medically complex patients in their homes, notes Jessica Simo, program manager with Durham Community Health Network for the Duke Division of Community Health.

First and foremost, we let our staff in the Care Partners pilot know that they would be supported if they felt they needed to cancel a home visit at the last minute because they didn’t feel safe once they arrived in a certain neighborhood. That should always be an option for people who are doing home visits.

Second, in situations where it is critical to get a view of what is going on in someone’s home to mitigate those safety concerns, we frequently “buddy up,” which is having somebody go with another member of the team to conduct that visit. To maintain efficiency, we try to make that the exception, not the rule, but there are situations that are merited.

Third, during training, experienced staff recommend to new staff to conduct home visits in the morning in particularly unsafe neighborhoods. Many people about whom you would tend to worry for safety reasons are not awake in the morning. Therefore, most of our home visits are conducted before noon.

And finally, when appropriate, we also meet people in places besides their home. We may meet them before or after a doctor’s visit at the clinic or another community agency near their home where they feel comfortable meeting a care manager.

Excerpted from: Home Visit Handbook: Structure, Assessments and Protocols for Medically Complex Patients

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