I’ve done many, many home visits. Not only because under our Medicare Advantage contract it was good medicine and good business, but also because it was a good time.
Getting to see the patients in their home environment was always of benefit. And if I timed the visit properly, I could usually get a free meal in the bargain.
I also never felt unsafe.
The same couldn’t be said for my female colleagues. It was always a challenge to get them to build a home-visit practice of their own to backstop their Medicare Advantage success.
Their biggest concern was safety.
In my consultancy today, I am astonished at how little emphasis is placed upon the personal safety of the workers asked to go into the home of patients. Care managers, home health nurses, social workers. Their training is limited to an “awareness” video, it there is any training at all. I’m certain assaults happen and they’re hushed up by the employer.
Since I’ve begun writing about stand-alone Home-Visit Only Medicare Advantage practices, the most common concern from potential practitioners is safety as well—specifically staying safe going into patient’s private home.
It’s a big and appropriate concern.
My recommendations, which stem my experience successfully mentoring my female partners, are two-fold.
First, read The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker
De Becker worked as and eventually founded his own personal bodyguard company.
The movie “The Bodyguard” is loosely based on his work.
“The Gift of Fear” referred to is the feeling in the pit of your stomach that something is not right. It’s your body picking up on non-verbal cues that it is under threat. Today, we are socialized to ignore that feeling, especially females. He discusses how to embrace it and use it a tool to stay safe.
It is an extremely valuable read—and surprisingly entertaining as well.
Model Mugging is the older organization. It was created by a martial arts teacher whose black belt student was sexually assaulted and then returned to publicly apologize to her fellow students for her failure to use her training effectively,
Understanding the failure was, in fact, his own, the founder began reading about and interviewing jailed rapists, understanding how they identified and selected their victims as well as how they intimidated them during the assault itself.
The result was the first full-contact self-defense training for women. By teaching techniques that take full advantage of their strengths and situational objectives, women learn with confidence that they can indeed protect themselves.
It’s usually is a long weekend, can cost several hundred dollars and involves learning and using full-force techniques against a simulated assailant in full-pads—surrounded by the entire class cheering the student on in her resistance.
The training is pure influence and persuasion in action—by realistically simulating a threat an incredibly charged environment, the student effectively internalizes not just the necessary techniques, but also the confidence that she can use them effectively.
That leads to confident body-language, the most important deterrent to being assaulted.
Graduates who have subsequently been assaulted report hearing the cheers of their fellow students as they defended themselves. The training is intentionally designed and very powerful.
My wife has been an instructor for this training and I’ve been privileged enough to witness the transformation students underwent during the weekend-long training.
Empowerment is an over-used term, but if ever it was applicable—it was here.
With these tools, any clinician who wants to start her own home-visit only practice can create systems that will keep her safe.
So she can concentrate on being wildly successful.