by Bill Harley, Fife Cares Team, Fife Council
Dealing with home safety and security in Fife through the pandemic has been a challenge but this is how we have dealt with it. All processes are under constant review and take cognisance of the Scottish Government advice and regulations.
Fife cares has historically provided a service of advice and equipment for families with children under 5 years, vulnerable adults as well as the Safe Secure and Supported at Home service which provides safety and security advice and equipment for victims of domestic abuse all within Fife.
The service involved a Home Safety Advisor receiving referrals electronically and making an appointment to attend at the home where a relevant discussion would take place and any equipment available and thought necessary would be provided or fitted.
The global pandemic has obviously changed this landscape considerably.
Throughout the initial lockdown period no home visits could take place and Home Safety Advisors were redeployed delivering prescriptions. Child Safety and Vulnerable Adult visits were suspended. Domestic Abuse visits were identified as a priority and Police Scotland carried out these visits with equipment supplied by Safe Secure and Supported at Home.
When lock down conditions were eased Home Safety Advisors took up their own jobs again and have been carrying out domestic violence related referrals as well as child safety referrals. This has been managed in the following ways
Child Safety - the client is contacted by telephone when a discussion takes place regarding the circumstances within the home and related safety issues. An assessment is made over the phone of what equipment would be suitable. This includes cupboard locks, etc through to child safety gates. The equipment is later delivered in a paper bag to the client with a copy of a booklet which highlights the most common child safety issues and how to avoid the dangers. It also has web links for relevant safety sites and contact details for more information. This was produced and supplied pre-covid. Safety gates are delivered separately.
This process is working well and visits are being well received with minimum risk to staff and the client.
Vulnerable adult visits remain suspended due to the vulnerable nature of the clients and risk to them and staff.
Domestic Violence – the client is contacted by telephone when a discussion takes place regarding the circumstances and related security issues. An appointment is arranged and the Home Safety Advisor attends where, with appropriate PPE they speak to the client, assess their needs and provide advice and equipment as is relevant to the individual and their home. Contact time with the client is kept to a minimum and should always be less than 15 minutes. Access to the home is minimal and kept to just inside the doorways. This minimises risks to staff and client as well as provides the client with the much-needed support.
This process is also working well and is gratefully received by the clients.
We continue to look at ways to best use resources and provide the service to clients.