How to Develop a Successful Non-Emergency Transportation Program
Many senior living organizations offer non-emergency transportation services for their clients. The scope of transportation services offered will vary, depending upon the client population and resources. Clients may be transported to/from a dentist appointment or they may attend a group trip to the local shopping mall. No matter the destination, it’s critical to ensure the safety of both the driver and passengers and this is accomplished by having an effective transportation program.
A key component to a successful transportation program is to ensure drivers receive training and education that will enable them to become proficient at safely operating all features on the vehicle as well as safely providing passenger (client) assistance to include mobility equipment, lift operation
Topics to consider include the following:
- Vehicle inspections and maintenance schedule
- Motor vehicle safety and defensive driving
- Federal, state, and local motor vehicle laws and regulations
- How to prevent and respond to incidents, accidents
- Lift equipment maintained and operated following the manufacturer's recommendations
- Before using the lift, read and understand the operation manual
- Follow all warning and safety precautions
- Wheelchair securement (recommend training to include a return demonstration to ensure competency)
- Two-part securement system: one to secure the common wheelchair and a separate system to secure the wheelchair user
- Each system includes a minimum of four floor-mounted belts and a lap and shoulder belt.
While driving safely and knowing how to operate the vehicle is extremely important, it’s not enough. Transportation programs should include more than just the vehicles, it’s also about the service. Of all the responsibilities the driver has, the way they interact with clients will have the most influence on their job performance and the reputation of the organization.
The professional driver must possess the necessary skills to ensure the clients feel safe, comfortable and welcomed. By providing training opportunities to help your drivers develop their communication and assistance skills, you will optimize your organization’s customer service platform.
Drivers need to be comfortable with “hands on” assistance with helping the elderly and people with disabilities. It’s important for drivers to know the special characteristics and needs of their client population.
While the driver is not expected to make judgments on a client’s needs; the driver does play a critical role in noticing that a client needs help or noticing that a client’s condition has changed (and the supervisor should be notified). When drivers are educated on the special characteristics and needs of your client population they are better prepared to meet the client’s needs.
Safety and service are vital and must remain a high priority when developing a successful non-emergency transportation program. The key to success is employing drivers that have a genuine passion and commitment to serve people as well as they fully understand and adhere to operating the vehicle safely.
For more information on non-emergency transportation and wheelchair securement, contact a member of the ‘A’ Team!
- Honk for Minimizing Employee Auto Risks
- Minimize Risk with Safe Patient Handling Programs
- Safety E-Book
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