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Community Health Care

FrequencyWare offers a cellular communication device from Identicom that gives community health care workers a discrete life line to help when threatening situations occur. Health care workers in hospitals have the benefit of other staff and on an increasing basis, access to help through wireless personal communicators. This helps to protect the institutional health care worker when they encounter situations of violence or potential violence in the workplace.

Community health care workers, such as psychiatric nurses, contracted care givers, etc. often work alone and enter residential situations where instances of domestic violence or an aggressive client can be encountered - without warning.

Some community health care workers have cell phones which are the current answer to situations where a call for help is needed. The problem with reliance on cell phones is they can exacerbate matters and a potentially violent client is unlikely to pause their aggression to let the health care worker reach for their cell, call 911 and provide location instructions for the police to respond.

Identicom The Identicom solution is a discrete two way communications device disguised as a simple business card or badge holder. It can be worn around the neck or clipped on the waist or pocket. A discrete emergency button, when activated, opens a cellular channel to a 24/7 manned monitoring centre where staff can listen to events and attempt communications. The device enables the health care worker to record a message before entering a premise (with name of client/address/time of entry, etc) so that if a threatening situation arises, monitoring centre staff can immediately instruct local emergency personnel (police, etc) with response directions. The device also enables pre alarm windows to be set before entry so that after a specified time period, if the setting is not deactivated by the wearer, a call is immediately place to the Identicom device.

Health care is no longer limited to hospitals, community health care centers or doctor's offices. The old days of doctors' home visits have not quite returned but with community based health care workers the situation is analogous. Community health care "lone" workers deserve no less protection than their counterparts working in health care facilities. In fact, government legislation is moving in the direction of requiring employers to properly protect all workers from situations of harassment and violence in the workplace. In Ontario, Bill 168 has passed first reading in the House and will likely be enacted. It calls for risk assessments, policies, procedures and programs to mitigate risks of harassment and violence in the workplace. It also calls for the ability for staff to seek immediate help when they encounter such situations.

If you are an employer you owe it to your community health care workers to investigate Identicom. If you are a community health care worker, you owe it to yourself to inform your employer of this emergency communications device.

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