Advance 25 August 2020 care, case study, housing The Customer Advance is a nationwide housing and support service that helps those with disabilities and mental health issues. Supporting thousands of people at home, at work and in the community, Advance provides a vital lifeline. With care staff and volunteers regularly visiting people’s homes alone within the community, Advance deemed it necessary to provide emergency backup should a situation arise. The Challenge Those receiving help and support from Advance suffer with learning disabilities and/or mental health issues. This makes them susceptible to erratic or unpredictable behaviour. Therefore, they pose a risk of assaulting and injuring those who provide their support service. A recent evidence review on violence against social care and support staff in the UK reported that 93% of respondents had been verbally abused at some point during their employment. 71% had been threatened or intimidated and over half (56%) had reported a physical assault. The Solution In order to continue providing care without having to limit staff involvement with customers, Advance chose to implement personal safety alarms for their lone workers, turning to Peoplesafe. This ensured staff felt confident in the knowledge that should they be faced with violence or aggression from a service user, help would be at hand. With over 350 members of staff performing outreach visits, Advance wanted to ensure that the nominated personal safety solution was robust and reliable. The organisation chose to utilise a mixture of Peoplesafe’s smartphone application and mobile speed dial service. This depended on each employee’s level of risk. The Peoplesafe service allows users to log in and out of daily tasks using their mobile phones. Employees can leave details of their location and expected activity duration at any time. Should the activity overrun, Peoplesafe will automatically call the worker to verify their safety. If the employee cannot be reached, the nominated responder at Advanced is notified, informing them of the overrun activity. At this stage, the agreed protocol is followed to verify the user’s safety. Should the user feel their safety is compromised, they can press the assigned speed dial key to raise an alarm. This will connect them to Peoplesafe’s 24/7 manned Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC). Trained Incident Managers will speak to the user (if it’s safe to do so) to ascertain their situation and send help if required. Smartphone users have the added benefit of GPS locating technology. Incident Managers can pin-point exactly where the user is located and guide the emergency services to their precise location. The Benefits Peoplesafe’s phone services are the most cost effective and easy to use systems in the marketplace. “We’ve found the system incredibly easy to use and is very beneficial in allowing staff to call in and set alarms in case there’s an emergency.”Marion Virgo, Health and Safety Consultant It provides reassurance for Advance that staff and volunteers have a high level of personal safety when working alone. The system increases the confidence of staff, enabling them to go about their daily activities with the assurance that their safety is in professional hands.