Study reveals benefits of lone worker solutions for healthcare sector
9 January 2012
The Royal College of Nursing's latest survey has uncovered the benefits of lone worker devices to healthcare employees, many of whom are often required to work alone or in remote areas.
According to the RCN’s survey, more than 60% of community nurses spend more than half of their time as a lone worker without a colleague for support.
Over 70% reported having been subjected to either physical or verbal abuse during the course of their jobs in the past two years, with many agreeing that the risk they face has increased.
Working alongside their clients in the healthcare sector, several members of the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) have developed highly effective lone worker devices equipped with GSM (mobile phone) technology to connect employees quickly and discreetly with an emergency response system that has direct links to the police.
In fact, a number of products are now commercially available from BSIA member companies (including the device used largely across the NHS and which is styled like an ID card holder).
Monitored by an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC), lone worker devices allow users to send a pre-activation message when they are entering an area of potential risk e.g. car park alone at night.
If the user experiences a problem or encounters a situation that seems likely to escalate into something more serious then the lone worker device can be activated to summon help.
Activating the lone worker device triggers a voice call to the ARC. No further action is required by the user, as the device functions as an open microphone, enabling the ARC to capture an audio recording of the incident for future action such as police investigation of legal proceedings.
Operators at the ARC also monitor the audio channel in real-time, enabling them to assess the situation and alert the police if the user needs help. This procedure allows the police to respond to genuine emergencies by providing a ‘moving picture’ of the incident, including an increase or decrease in risk as it happens.
The very knowledge that this is taking place is a boost to the user’s confidence. Over 40% of respondents to the RCN’s survey agreed that the use of a lone worker device would increase their confidence to work alone.