SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This procedure should be followed by any staff member who calls on or visits people in their own homes and cannot gain access.

1. Principles

People have the right to refuse services, can be non-compliant with service providers and sometimes simply forget someone is coming. However, sometimes staff cannot gain access because the person is ill or has had an accident. Staff should not assume someone is out if they cannot gain access or get a response.

2. Procedural Steps

Step Action By Whom
1. When staff depend on people for access, they must allow sufficient time for the person to get to the door and must allow for events such as not initially hearing the bell or not being in a position to answer immediately, for example if the person is on the phone or visiting the bathroom. Visiting staff member such as Social Worker, Home Care Worker, Day Services Driver/ Escort
2. If there is no reply, staff should check the property by looking through the windows and letter box. Staff member
3. If staff cannot see the person, they should telephone them to see if they can get a response. Staff member
4. If the staff member can see the person and they are either in a state of collapse or such a condition that warrants concern for their well being, they should contact the emergency services and then their manager to alert them to what has happened. The staff member should remain at the property until the emergency services arrive and pass on any relevant information. Staff member
5. If the staff member is staying at the property, the line manager should telephone anyone identified to be contacted in an emergency, such as a family member. (S)he should then reallocate the workers calls if possible, or alert customers that their calls may be delayed. S/he should consider whether s/he needs to go out to support the staff member. If the staff member is a day service driver/ escort, the manager should either go to the property or arrange for a member of care staff to go to the property to relieve the driver/ escort. This is to minimise the distress which may be caused to any customers already on the bus who are witnessing events unfold. Manager
6. If the staff member cannot see the person and cannot get a response, they should make enquiries with neighbours without sharing any personal information. Staff member
7. If staff still cannot make contact with the person or find out where they are, they should contact the office to alert the manager and to see if any message has been left in regard to the customer. Staff member
8. Upon receiving the alert that access cannot be gained, the manager should telephone any other agencies in contact with the person, for example District Nurse, CPN and any other contact numbers, such as those of relatives. If the person’s whereabouts can be ascertained at that point, the manager should inform the staff member who will carry on with their normal duties. Manager
9. If there is nothing to suggest that the person has gone out, then they must be assumed to be in the premises and unwell. The manager should call the emergency services and ask the staff member to remain at the property until the emergency services arrive. S/he should also contact property services for advice on who is responsible for making the property secure. Manager
10. The manager should record all the details of what has happened together with the outcome when it is known. If there are repeated false alarms, a review may be necessary which should be informed by a positive risk assessment. Manager