What is a Hands Free Lone Worker Solution?
The latest version of our Ok Alone lone worker app provides Siri or Google Assistant shortcuts so you can use your voice to update your Ok Alone status wherever you are and whatever you’re doing.
Any user with iOS12/13 or an Android phone and Ok Alone can now easily use their voice to start a shift, check in or get help – all by using their voice, completely hands free.
Why is this an important development for a lone working nurse?
Hands Free for Health Care Professionals
1.4 million people in the U.K are registered as Health Professionals, this does not include the 656,600 registered nurses, 102,200 social workers or 330,100 Welfare and Housing Associate Professionals who frequently work on their own (July 2018-June 2019) ¹.
Compared to other sectors, health and social care staff are at increased risk of violence wherever they work. However, analysis of incident data carried out by NHS Protect (2015) found that the risk is even greater for lone working health care staff with the proportion of lone workers sustaining injury from a physical assault being around 9% higher than for non-lone workers ².
The above graph (figure 1) ᵌ, shows that 60.7% of lone working nursing staff did not feel safe whilst at work during a 12 month period.
Research carried out by the Royal College of Nurses involving 8,307 staff found that 29% of all respondents had experienced physical abuse from patients/service users or relatives over the previous 12 months ⁴.
Under health and safety laws, employers have a range of legal duties including keeping employees safe at work; providing a safe working environment; assessing any risks to employee health and safety and taking reasonable steps to eliminate or reduce those risks. Employers must implement safe systems of work and ‘control measures’ that prevent or reduce the risks identified as part of the risk assessment ⁵.
Part of keeping lone working employees safe, is knowing where they are during their shifts, but workers reported that 80.9% of the time their supervisors were unaware of their location (figure 2) ⁶ and 66.6% reported they were not given adequate information about patients before being sent to treat them (figure 3) ⁷.
Keeping Lone Workers Safe Using Hands Free
Lone working is a reality for many nursing staff but with appropriate measures taken by employers, alongside practical steps taken by nursing staff, the risks can be reduced.
Having a standard panic alarm or ID lanyard may not be enough to protect a lone working nurse. Using a standard lone worker app may not be enough, as the worker’s mobile phone may not be easily accessible. Or it may not be possible to dial or text in a situation which is escalating and could inflame an already difficult situation. However, using a lone worker solution with hands-free capability would allow the worker to get help simply by asking for it.
By having shortcuts already set up on their phone with the Ok Alone app, lone working nursing staff who find themselves in danger can say ‘Siri/Ok Google, get help’ using the hands-free function. This will immediately send an alert to their monitor and inform them that a lone worker nurse is in trouble. The monitor will be able to see the worker’s location in real-time and can then send help.
To find out more about this amazing technology visit the Ok Alone website www.okaloneworker.com
2 – Personal safety when working alone: guidance for members working in health and social care, Royal College of Nursing, September 2016
3 – RCN lone working survey 2011, Royal College of Nursing, January 2012
4 – Employment Survey 2019, Royal College of Nursing, November 2019
5 – Personal safety when working alone: guidance for members working in health and social care, Royal College of Nursing, September 2016
6 – RCN lone working survey 2011, Royal College of Nursing, January 2012
7 – RCN lone working survey 2011, Royal College of Nursing, January 2012