What to Do when your Elderly Client goes AWOL
1. An overflowing letterbox.
From having a fall usually.
In my experience, this says ‘nobody is looking after me, I am all alone’ and it’s never a good sign.
A more common occurrence this one, over the festive season.
|Calm down, mad Mitzy-poo!|
And that's fine. As long as we know.
I have several repeat offender clients in this category who despite having had their Home Care service scheduled at the exact same time, on the exact same day, every week for the last two years, they continue their pattern of being frequently absent on service day.
So then we play the waiting game…
Because bound by a Duty of Care policy, as a paid carer I am obliged to take appropriate and timely action when a client fails to present at the door to ensure they are found safe and snug and free from harm.
THE ART OF DOOR-KNOCKING
Older adults too, can become exceptionally aggravated if they are pressured into hurrying unnecessarily - so use your discretion, count to to 20 or whatever it takes before you start ding-donging away furiously.
Remember the reason you are there. And that it's not about you getting to your lunch break on time - keep your composure and STAY COOL!
Futile when they aren’t home of course, but as a process of elimination it has to be done.
LET US IN OR WE'LL CALL THE POLICE!!!
This brilliant contraption requires a secret code number to open it before: Hey Presto! It pops open to reveal a key hiding snug inside for you to let yourself in.
Word from the wise here: Make sure you knock first before you stride on in. And also call out to announce your arrival. You don't want your unsuspecting client, in mid-doze, dying of fright as you suddenly appear from behind the sofa!
(Oh and make sure you put the key back in the safe for other carers who might need to get in after you've been and gone. The havoc you can create if you forget this will cause all sorts of headaches!)
STALK YOUR CLIENT
Move stealthily around the outer rim of the house, calling out and rat-a-tat-tatting as you go, just on the off-chance that your client is in another room, in the shower, or maybe just finishing up important business in the loo…
Or they’re having a bit of a zzzz after a poor night’s sleep?
Keep knocking and also check out in the back yard and garage areas too, if you can access them. I once had a client whose life revolved completely around her magnificent garden so I knew I'd always find her out back in her wide-brimmed hat digging away in her veggie patch… head down, bum up!
Although not to be taken as gospel, you at least know that something serious has happened which explains why your client is not going to be home no matter how hard you knock.
HELP! I'VE FALLEN OVER!
Note: Never hesitate in calling for an Ambulance if you feel it's warranted. Better safe than sorry - you don't want the alternative on your conscience.
PASS THE BUCK
Phone the client directly.
Failing that, and there is still no response from within the client’s residence… the office will then call any next of kin/emergency contacts listed on your client’s file in the hope that somebody somewhere knows where your client might be today.
Finally, the last ditch effort in pin-pointing the whereabouts of your missing Senior is to bring in The Law. Meaning yes, the Police are informed and a Welfare Check is systematically conducted by them at your client’s home to ascertain if they are in there or not.
Not to mention having the cops called out too!
Apparently taking out first place in the ladies senior division at the Regional Ten-Pin Bowling comp just wasn’t going to cut it this time.
“I’LL GIVE YOU A BLOODY TROPHY, MUM!”