Social care has been described as a “complex and sprawling sector”. Looking at the figures, it’s not hard to see why. A 2015 report by social care charity The Kings Fund cited over 12,000 independent organisations in the sector, ranging from big corporate chains and family-run businesses to local charities and social enterprises. You might also be surprised to learn that the NHS or local councils provide only approximately 10% of social care services. Both privately and publicly, social care is a massive industry carrying a huge responsibility. In the UK, social care providers enable half a million people to live at home. There are three times more care home places than there are hospital beds. It is also set against a backdrop of significant funding cuts and financial pressures. Private care home costs can range from £500 to more than £1,000 per week.
Social care can be a stressful and emotionally charged sector. We need to make sure the quality of all human life is respected. Let’s start by providing safety for social care providers in the healthcare sector.
Unhappy families and care homes
What if you work in a care home? It’s not only residents or clients themselves who may have significant physical and mental health issues. As a lone social care worker, you may also have to manage their relatives. Everyone has an opinion or how a family member should be treated, even if they are not the primary caregiver. Or they could be highly stressed themselves about shouldering the ongoing financial burden. Not to mention the pain of seeing a beloved family member in a vulnerable or deteriorating state. Emotions can run high and might often be misdirected.
Alternatively, you could be a lone social care provider going to visit patients at home. You could be working in challenging environments or having to negotiate other factors, like a territorial pet who doesn’t like seeing a stranger come across the threshold. Even if that stranger is there to do good.
Protecting social care providers in the healthcare sector.
Safe Hub's Red Alert and Yellow Alert are critical features for lone workers in the healthcare sector.
Red Alert is for a crisis situation. If a lone worker feels at risk, they can select the Red Alert option on their chosen device. This will immediately open a two-way call with the Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) where a highly trained operative will trigger the appropriate response. Red Alert can also be used as a virtual buddy and stay on the line with a lone worker if they feel at risk. Red Alert also provides an active listening service where ARC staff can listen in on a call if a worker is incapacitated and unable to speak. In the case of a prosecution for an assault against a lone worker, all calls are recorded and admissible in a court of law.
If you’re entering a potentially hazardous situation, Yellow Alert lets a lone worker leave a voicemail with location-and-task specific information beforehand. An ARC operative will access this if the worker raises a Red Alert or can’t be contacted.
A safety badge of honour
There are further ways of providing safety for social care providers in the healthcare sector. Safe Check is a periodic welfare ‘check in’ system where a lone worker sets an automated prompt before going into service-users homes. Safe Check sends a message to the worker's specialist device, smartphone or standard mobile. The worker selects the OK button, and the system resets until the next prompt is due. If they don’t respond to a prompt, an alert will be flagged at the ARC, and the escalation protocol for that worker is triggered.
Safe Hub is live on the NHS Supply Chain Framework
Red Alert, Yellow Alert and Safe Check are all part of Lone Worker Solutions' award-winning Safe
Hub platform. And, we are delighted to announce That Safe Hub is now available on the NHS Supply Chain Framework.
NHS Supply Chain selected the SOS Fob within the personal safety alarms product category. SOS Fob is lightweight and waterproof but very powerful. It has high-quality two-way audio connecting workers directly with an Alarm Response Centre. It can be worn in an ID badge holder, an arm or belt holster, a wristband or on a lanyard.
The NHS Supply Chain Framework programme is available to the NHS, private-sector healthcare providers, and the wider public sector. The intention is to make procurement of lone worker safety services a simple, quick and efficient process. Companies within the Framework must adhere to the high standards demanded by the NHS, for the benefit of all those under its care.
Contact Lone Worker Solutions and the Safe Hub team today.
Post by Rob Gilbert
Rob is Chief Sales Officer at Lone Worker Solutions (LWS). He is responsible for introducing new clients to the benefits of Safe Hub, and ensuring their experience is straightforward, simple and truly useful. His consultative, customer-focused approach means our clients have full access to every possible resource to achieve lasting, best-of-breed solutions and service excellence.