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Policy 12.5 – NRC Client No Response Policy


POLICY TITLE:                 NRC – Client No Response Policy

POLICY NUMBER:             12.5  

POLICY STATEMENT:          Clients receiving community care services through the Northern Respite Care program shall have their safety and well being viewed as a paramount consideration.


In recognition of the vulnerability of clients receiving community care services, procedures are established to ensure a client’s safety is not neglected.  Whilst a client’s autonomy is to be respected at all times there can be many reasons why a scheduled visit is missed including:

  • The carer / care recipient may have inadvertently forgotten to inform the volunteer or Program Manager that he/she should not be at home; and/or
  • The care recipient may have fallen, been injured or taken ill and still be in the home.

It is important that Northern Respite Care Services has a process in place for those times that a care recipient does not respond to a scheduled visit. Such a response needs to be based on assessment and individualised as each client’s circumstances will differ. This response should then be documented in the client’s care plan and service agreement, with a copy made available to the client and volunteer. In the event that a client does not want any response, this should also be documented in the client care plan or service agreement.

The specific outcomes shall be:

  • Careful consideration shall be given to circumstances when a client does not respond to a scheduled volunteer visit, thus safeguarding clients who may be at risk
  • Volunteers shall have a clearly defined process to follow
  • Any such incidents shall be clearly documented

 PROCEDURES (To implement Policy)

  1. Each client shall have an individualised planned response for times when they do not respond to a scheduled visit. Such a response needs to be personalised for each client, and documented in the client care plan or service agreement with a copy made available to the client and volunteer.


  1. For the purpose of this policy, a ‘planned response’ is defined as a documented individualised approach in place for when a care recipient does not respond to a scheduled visit and is based on each client’s individual circumstance and preferences.


  1. All volunteers must be made aware of their client’s response plan and a copy provided to them.  The volunteer shall have a clear understanding of who will be responsible for the various steps outlined in the individually agreed process. It is expected that individualised plans would be progressively documented at service reviews or re-assessment to ensure they always remain current.


  1. The client/carer shall agree to notify the Program Manager if the care recipient is not going to be home for a prearranged visit.


  1. It is important to note that even where a client has requested that they do not want a planned response, if a volunteer has concerns or there is an indication that there may be something wrong, the volunteer should raise their concerns with the Program Manager and have their concerns documented.


  1. When a client does not respond to a scheduled visit, the volunteer should make the initial steps to implement the client’s agreed response plan.  This may include contacting the Program Manager to see if the client has advised they will not be home and to identify the individualised response.


      7.   Where no prior notification of absence has been recorded, it is assumed that the client is at home but not        responding and the volunteer will implement the following steps:

  • knock loudly on the door a second and even a third time;
  • call out the person’s name;
  • if safe to do so, repeat the above at the back door;
  • look in and knock on relevant windows;
  • look for signs that indicate anything out of the ordinary such as all blinds are drawn;
  • attempt to reach the care recipient by phoning them on their number;
  • if safe to do so, approach the neighbours to enquire if they have seen the client;
  • phone the Program Manager on 8182 9800 or mobile 0411 117 323 for further direction;
  • phone the Executive Officer of the Association on 8182 9392 or the mobile 0413 515 851 if you are unable to contact the Program Manager
  • if a volunteer does not have a mobile phone, they should immediately visit the Program Manager or phone from their own home, whichever will provide the quickest response.
  • upon confirmation that a client is absent at the time of a scheduled visit, it is the responsibility of the Program Manager  to implement the planned response for that  individual as previously agreed by the carer and care recipient
  • leave a ‘Sorry I Missed you’ card, notifying the client of the volunteers visit and asking the client to contact the Program Manager upon their return home

Policy passed by Board of Governance: December 16, 2010

Last Updated: March 2012

Policy Developed in Consultation with:

  • Executive Officer
  • NRC Program Manager
  • NRC Volunteers
  • Policy Sub-Committee