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Setting up a Location Service within your organisation

The St. Bernard Location Service is flexible and can work as easily for a single user as it can to provide an organisation-wide service with hundreds of users. It is possible to create secure groups and sub organisations to restrict information on a “need to know” basis, just one of the features to maintain privacy and ensure an ethically based service.

Halliday James Ltd offer a fully managed service where the care organisation can phone or email and the location device and alerts will be configured for them. This allows the service to be used immediately with a minimum of training. Alternatively, if a larger service is envisaged, staff can be trained to administer it.

The operational principles are the same whether the service is for a single user or for many users across different departments of an organisation.  In both cases the critical success factors are:

  • Understanding the scope of the service.  How many people could benefit from it?   Are there other groups or departments who could benefit from a joint service?  Examples of areas that could benefit from emergency location are: Older people, mental health, learning disability, acquired brain injury, victims of domestic violence, etc. 
  • Having ownership of the service.  Someone will have to be responsible for and be an advocate for the service.
  • Identify other organisations which should be involved.  These could include the local community alarm or telecare service and the police.  It is often a good idea to discuss your plans with the local police as finding missing people can be a serious drain on their resources.  Their involvement will vary according to the police force but in some areas they are linked into the emergency location web site and are very involved in the service.  It is also useful having contacts with the local CCTV service as they can often help locate missing people.
  • Identify how the service will be funded and what the cost benefits are.  The cost benefits of using emergency location are large, a week’s care home fees will be more than a year’s  location costs.  A month’s location cost is about the same as 4 hours of home care.
  • Have eligibility and assessment criteria which make sure that the service is used appropriately. Emergency location is not the answer for everybody.   As in many areas the successes are forgotten but the failures are remembered.  By making sure that all the links in the emergency location chain are in place, and not using it if they are not, will significantly improve the success of the service.

Assessment criteria

  • What are the needs and capability of the user?  For example:  What risks are you trying to mitigate?  Do they need a simple mobile phone function, would they be able to respond to an incoming call?
  • Who are the other stakeholders? Family, social workers, carers and care provider organisations, neighbours etc will all be involved in the use of the service.  They all have to be on board and wanting the service to work.
  • Who will make sure the location device is charged and with the service user?  This is one of the most critical criteria.  It is possible to check the charging pattern of the device through the web site and low battery alerts can be used but if local support is not good enough there will inevitably be problems. This can be a particular problem with agency staff who will not be familiar with the system.
  • When should an alarm be raised?  This relates to the risks you have identified.  Choosing alarm conditions carefully can reduce the number of false alarms.
  • Who should receive it and how?  Alarms can be communicated in a number of different ways, by text message, e-mail or through a LocaLink trigger which in turn can activate a telecare unit or a warden or nurse call system.
  • Who will do something about it and how?  Knowing someone’s location is only part of finding them and making them safe.  Who will go to find the user?  How will they recognise them? 
  • Is there a fallback if the technology fails?   All technology can fail or not be used properly so your risk management should take this into account.
Remember we can help.  We have come across many examples of how the service can be used.  We can put you in touch with other St Bernard users and provide training and support.