4 Tips to Enhance Social Workers and Nurses’ Personal Safety at the Front Door


                  Social Workers and Home Health Providers Personal Safety 

“Four at the Door”

At the Front Door

Home health providers, social workers, nurses and other field-based professionals know to be on guard when knocking on a client’s door, especially during that first visit. Personal safety is paramount.

Here are the four strategies you can use to make you that much safer while knocking on someone’s door, whether for the first time or the hundredth time.

Distance is Always Your Friend

Knock and step back several feet. (If you are knocking on the door of a trailer home, perhaps reach through the railings and knock on the bottom of the door to avoid the stairs.)

Creating space between you and the door gives you more time to react if a negative situation arises. Police refer to this as the “reactionary gap,” or “reactionary cushion.”

Stay off the Center Line

Moving to the side takes you off the center line and leaves you a bit less vulnerable to something like a dog charging out the door.

Hinge Side of the Door

As you step to the side try whenever possible to stand on the hinge side of the door frame. This allows you to see a more of the room behind the person opening the door than if on the door handle side.

Partial “Blading” for Your Body

Once you’re back and away and off to the hinge side of the frame, remember to angle your body at about 45 degrees toward the door,  as opposed to facing the door square with your shoulders.  Angling or partially “blading” your body in this manner allows you monitor what is going on behind you, also known as your blind spot, as well as keep an eye on the door. This positioning also allows you to more quickly turn away from the door and leave rapidly if the situation called for it.

One last thought…..  If you do put down your bag while waiting, place it between you and the door and not behind you or on your flank. This way if you need to leave quickly for any reason, you will not trip over it.

It Happened to Me: A True Story From Lone Worker Training:

The provider said she did everything described above but for the partial blading stance. She said her shoulders were square to the door, and when it was opened she was shoved from behind into the residence and robbed of her possessions.

Does this happen every day?  Of course not.  But knowing what is going on behind you at the door and at all times is critical and makes you a much “harder target.”

**A simple technique that will help you cover that BLIND SPOT behind you.

Related: Blending In. Not drawing unwanted attention to myself. 

  1. #1 by Kathy Reger on September 24, 2018 - 11:11 am

    Suggestion to carry car keys in hand to press key fob alarm button

  2. #2 by Lynda Black on September 24, 2018 - 1:03 pm

    These are excellent tips for all home care nurses. We travel to all different kinds of areas and need to be safe at all times.
    Thank you

  3. #3 by pj on September 24, 2018 - 1:05 pm

    scary but need to be prepared. thank you

  4. #4 by MariaMarshall, RN on September 24, 2018 - 2:49 pm

    Sounds good

  5. #5 by Nilda Ramos-Cole on September 25, 2018 - 11:48 am

    Thank you so much foe this information. Great information.

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