Getting basic care needs met

Be aware of warning signs that someone’s health is in danger because their basic care needs are not being met.

It may be hard to know if basic care needs are being met if you are helping someone remotely over the phone.

Gentle questioning may help you be assured or identify issues that need resolving. Consider:

  • FOOD AND SHELTER: Do they have access to food and a warm, dry home? Do they have access to money to enable them to look after themselves sustainably?
  • LOVING CARE: Were they previously looked after by someone who has died; eg. if they are old, young or sick; and who is looking after them now? Do they have a network of family and friends living with them or over the phone who are able to provide effective support?
  • HEALTH: Do they say they feel well, unwell, or sound as though they are poorly (eg. with COVID-19 or for some other reason)? Look out for warning signs such as confused speech or slurring words and remember to check whether they have symptoms of COVID-19 (dry cough, fever).
  • WELFARE: Are they self-abusing through alcohol, drugs, or self-harming (for example cutting themselves or starving themselves)?

If something concerns you, then you should do something.

If you are working for an organisation, report your concerns to your manager so they can help decide what needs to be done. If you are not working for an organisation, seek medical help or help from another relevant government agency, such as one providing social services.

If the person says they do not want help, but it is clear to you that they may need help, it is important to seek help.

A person’s safety is the most important thing.