A day in the life of... a Progress Lifeline Installer

Posted on: 10/04/2021

Hi, I’m Will, one of the Progress Lifeline Installers, and I’m going to give you an insight into my day-to-day work life. I’m still fairly new to the installer role (3 months) so every day is a school day at the moment. I start my day by getting in my brand new shiny work van, log on to the laptop and check what installs I have for the day and in which area of Lancashire. My first job is usually booked for 9am unless the service user has requested otherwise. I’ve usually prepped my first couple of jobs the night before to give me a head start. ‘Prepping’ is reading through a referral sent by social services or the administration team, outlining the service users’ medical conditions, contact info and any specific requests for equipment to be fitted. This all needs to be input onto the service user’s record, ready for the alarm response centre to use in the event of an emergency.

For those of you that don’t know what a ‘Lifeline’ is, it’s a small box (Lifeline Vi/Vi+ Unit) that plugs into the mains power and telephone socket and is dormant until required. The customer also receives a pendant which has a red button and is usually worn as a necklace or bracelet. If a service user gets into a spot of bother or feels unwell they can press the pendant which sends a signal through to the box that makes phone calls on behalf of a service user when one of the sensors are activated. The Lifeline dials through to our alarm response centre in Leyland at which point an operator will speak and ask if you are okay, and that’s the basics of it!

We have a few different types of services but the main services are our Progress Lifeline Private pay and our LCC commissioned Telecare service, plus a number of other contracts. Private pay is self-explanatory and Telecare is paid for by the local authority as the Service user meets the Care Act criteria and is therefore eligible for Telecare.

So now my day starts, I arrive at my first job, put my face mask, gloves and shoe coverings on (crazy COVID world we live in) and get the equipment from my van. I usually just take the Lifeline box in with me, laptop and socket tester. If the install is on behalf of LCC, an assessment is required to identify what equipment is appropriate to benefit the customer and their independence, so until I have completed that, I leave all sensors in the van. I knock on the door and hope the customer has clothes on when they answer. I introduce myself and show my ID badge then straight away I’ll try to break the ice with a compliment about the property or the weather! I’m a stranger going into their home and I’m about to ask them some pretty personal questions so it’s always easier to get off on a good start with customers so they feel more relaxed and don’t hold back any information we might need regarding their medical history.

The first thing I do when in the property is explain why I am there, show the Service User the little box and red button and explain what it does. I then establish where the master phone socket is, and a suitable power supply. It’s vital for health and safety reasons that a plug socket tester is used to determine if the wiring is safe. If my socket tester makes the wrong bleep I can’t install it there and will see if there are any alternative phone sockets in the property that may have a suitable power source. All sorts can be thrown at you when inside the property, excess wires here and there can be confusing, so sometimes I have to “strip it back” and unplug everything so I know what’s what when installing the little box.

When the box is set up and in place, I log onto the laptop to programme the equipment to the service user’s profile on the system so the alarm response centre knows who they are helping. Then the fun starts, I need to test the box via the phone line and make sure it’s able to make an outgoing call to the alarm response centre, wait for one of our friendly operators to answer. The alarm response centre usually answers within a few seconds which is reassuring for the service user and I can see the expression on their face change when they realise how easy it is to get help.

After the initial testing is done I’ll ascertain any medical conditions the service user may have, so we can get them the best help in the event of an emergency. Identifying medical issues also helps determine what kind of equipment will be fitted at the property. I’m limited on the equipment I can fit at the moment as I’m not fully trained so I sometimes have to send jobs back for more experienced installers to go and add fit specialist equipment such as flashing beacons for customers with a hearing impairment or epilepsy seizure sensors, which I actually learnt how to install this week and put it into practice later that day for a job I had previously sent back for a more experienced installer. As I said earlier, every day is a school day!

We install falls detectors, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, heat alarms, property exit sensors, door opening and closing sensors, crash mats, flood detectors, bed sensors, seizure sensors, bogus callers, medication dispensers, key safes and all sorts of other equipment that might help keep the service user safe. I need to order all these items from the stock team when my current stock gets low.

Progress Lifeline has an Emergency Home Response Service which Telecare customers get as standard and Private Pay customers have the option to add. The EHR team also hold a contract with the North West Ambulance Service, to provide a Lifting Service across the region. We also have some mobile technology that can be installed when there isn’t an active phone line, although this has to be paid for privately as the local authority don’t commission these at the moment but maybe in the future. Imagine trying to explain all this to an older person in about an hour whilst taking all their details! We do 3 or 4 installs a day depending on travel time and a maintenance visit, which can be relocating a smoke detector or adding one, or a simple battery replacement in a falls detector.

We cover all of Lancashire from Carnforth to Ormskirk, we also have a team over in Calderdale. Some days are easier than others but the entire department is very supportive and whether it be my colleagues on the installation team, the stock team, the admin team, the alarm response centre or Management everyone is there to help when needed. I absolutely love my new position and it’s where I wanted to be 3 years ago when I first joined the Housing side of the Progress Group. I get to meet service user’s dogs as well which makes it all the more enjoyable.

So to summarise, my day-to-day job is providing peace of mind for families, whilst enabling service users to remain in their homes a little bit safer than before I got there. We can’t stop accidents happening, but we are there to get you back on your feet when they do. Help is close at hand 😊