Hello! I am only about 2 weeks into my new job and I am seeking advice about safety while traveling out and about as a hospice nurse. I won't be taking call for a couple of months but I am concerned about the nighttime visits that I will be making in "shady" areas. What do y'all do? My co-workers say to call them-- even if they aren't on call!!! I thought that was crazy-nice! I have been told to call the police if needed but, at the same time, was told that they aren't always available for stuff like this. I might be overly worried but I can thank my husband for this because he keeps harping on "you never know!" all the time. :0[
Sep 17, '11
In 12 years I've never been bothered when making visits to the "shady" areas---even O/C at noc. The families KNOW they live in a less than safe area. Whenever I've had to go out, the family is expecting you and will be looking for you.
I remember one pt who live right in the middle of "crack town". I was on call the noc he died. When his son called, he told me to call him when I turned onto their street and he would be waiting for me. I did and when I arrived at the house there were two of his sons waiting for me on the sidewalk.
Just use common sense. I don't take a purse w/ me at noc. I bring my drivers license and a couple of dollars cash (I usually stop for a diet coke on the way) and I put those in my pocket. Keep your windows up and doors locked at all times. Stay aware of your surroundings. Give the family your ETA and call your husband when you are leaving the pts home.
Sep 17, '11
Call the client and ask them to make certain to have a light on so that you know where to go and can go there quickly without having to poke around looking for perhaps, hard to see, address numbers. They might have someone waiting at the door or they will come out to meet you. Attempt to park as close to the address as possible. Walk quickly to and from. Be aware at all times. Carry your little mace can or at least, walk with one of your keys protruding between your fingers. Oh, and I forgot, HIPAA be darned, give your intended address to your husband, so he knows where to direct the police if something happens.
Sep 17, '11
Don't get out of the car and then reach back into the vehicle or the trunk. Assemble your stuff before you get their so that your focus on arrival is your environment, not your gear.
If you will frequent potentially dangerous areas I would consider a personal safety class. They increase your awareness and give you more options.
I survived providing home hospice and SN care in metro Detroit...the families and their peeps look out for you.
Sep 17, '11
Take steps to insure your car is protected. A HHA, when leaving a case, in a bad area of town, found her car had been stolen. Lo-Jack is not a bad idea especially if your car is worth a lot or high on the list of stolen vehicles.
Sep 19, '11
I do what another poster suggested- I don't carry a purse, I keep my stuff by me and ready to go, and I have the families meet me outside if I am concerned. Honestly, although there are shady areas, I have not had a lot of problems. In fact, the only problem I know of anyone on our team having was a car of a nurse was broken into and they stole her purse. This was in the middle of the day in a nice neighborhood! I know some of the nurses in our organization keep a gun, pepper spray, tazer, etc in their car, but that is just not something I have felt I needed.
Sep 20, '11
I don't carry a purse with me, I keep my driver's license and debit card in my nursing bag. Honestly, I have felt safer in bad areas as crazy as that may sound. Anytime I have had to go into a bad area, they know I am coming. One of the family members or friends meets me at my car when I arrive and escorts me to the door. One other person remains outside, out of sight of others, and protects my car. I have NEVER had a problem in these areas and actually felt safer. Seems there is honor among even the socially-oppressed when we are caring for someone they love. Not to mention that some of my most memorable and rewarding moments has been while caring for a patient and family in the worst possible living situations.
Oct 7, '11
First of all... if it's a horrific area, which we do have here in Los Angeles area. Call the police, they will escort you. If that is over the top, carry a flashlight, you may wish to purchase pepper spray just as added precaution. Park in a well lit area. Have the family meed you and walk you in.
I have done visits in gang infested parts of Compton California, 2am deaths. I have always driven out and sort of drive by the area first. Seek a well lit area, have family come and meet you outside. This sends the signal you are there to help.
Also, these little neighborhoods are usually tight nit, they know someone has a nurse visiting. Ihave had the roughest people turn soft and sweet when they are aware you are a hospice nurse attending a death of their neighbor, loved one or lady down the road.
GO with confidence, but be realistic. Drive by once check it out. Not safe? Call the police for an escort.
Oct 8, '11
Yes, the drive by thing is a good idea...I did a drive by once at night and drove right into a group of young people who were having a bad disagreement, seconds later I heard gunshots and called the police. I was a few minutes late to my appointent, but I was safe.
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