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This Policy defines the control and management of keys and digital door entry codes to service users’ homes, and where appropriate details of service users’ intruder alarm codes, within the Organisation:



A: SERVICE USERS’ KEYS & INTRUDER ALARMS:

1. Care Staff employed by the Organisation may hold keys to service users’ homes under the following circumstances:


1.1 Where the service user is unable to lock or unlock their own doors.


1.2 To respond to emergencies, such as intruder alarms being activated, or repeated non-response to scheduled visits by the Care Worker (ref. Policy No 3703).


2. In all cases, a key may only be held by Care Staff with the owner’s written authorisation, and a copy of this authorisation will be retained in the Service User File. A dedicated form (Form No 3-707) is used for this purpose.


3. A Log is will be maintained at the Organisation’s offices of all service users’ keys and alarm codes held by Care Staff. This Log is the direct responsibility of the Domiciliary Care Services Manager and will identify the following for each service user:


  • The name and address of the service user.

  • The doors and / or alarms for which keys are held.

  • The number of copies of each key held.

  • Where the key is normally kept (i.e. with the Care Worker, or held centrally at the offices)

  • The identity of the service user’s allocated Care Worker.

  • Key numbers (if applicable).

  • The digital security code for any intruder alarm (as appropriate).


4. Each key will be individually tagged with a coded identity, the encryption for which is recorded in the Key Log, reference 3. above.


5. All keys will be physically kept in a safe, or secure lockable cupboard under the direct control of the Domiciliary Care Services Manager or designated deputy. ALTERNATIVE - use of individual Key Safes installed at service users’ dwellings - see section B of this Policy.


6. Where keys are required by Care Workers, then each key will be signed out at the beginning of each working shift, and signed back in at the completion of the shift by the Care Worker.


7. Under no circumstances will duplicate keys be cut from any master held by Care Staff without the express authorisation of the service user. Any duplicate keys that are made will be documented in the Key Log, ref. 3 above.


8. If a key is lost then this must be reported immediately to the Domiciliary Care Services Manager who will investigate and, with the owner’s consent, may authorise a replacement key to be obtained from the service user. If the lost key is subsequently found this will be returned to the service user or held at the Organisation’s offices, according to the service user’s wishes. The Key Log will be annotated in each case.


9. Upon termination of the Care Contract, or if the service user is taken to hospital for an extended period, all keys will be either returned to the service user’s next-of-kin, or given to the Local Authority. In these circumstances, The Domiciliary Care Services Manager is responsible for annotating the Key Log accordingly.



B: KEY SAFES AT SERVICE USERS’ HOMES:

1. Where keys are stored in Key Safes equipped with multi-digit combination locks at the service user’s home, there is a master list of the combinations held at the Organization.


2. These unique combinations are stored electronically at the Organization, access to which is restricted to designated staff members.


3. These unique combinations are changed on a regular basis to improve service user security.


4. When leaving the service user’s home the Care Worker spins the combination numbers of the Key Safe to produce a random number to improve service user security; the activating combination is never left visible.



C: DIGITAL DOOR ENTRY SYSTEMS TO SERVICE USERS’ HOMES:

1. Some service users, such as those receiving domiciliary care in Sheltered Housing and similar schemes, have their front entry doors fitted with a digital door entry system. This may or may not be linked directly to a remote door release switch in the service users’ accommodation once the service user or advocate has had the opportunity to verify who is trying to gain access. Entry is gained either through the use of a digital door entry code, or by remote switch release as described above. In both cases there will be over-riding master keys for use in emergencies which will be managed by the Organisation per part A of this Policy.


2. The Domiciliary Care Manager is responsible for ensuring that the digital entry code and adequate information and instructions for the door entry system are readily available for use by Care Staff delivering the domiciliary care service. This information will include how to report faults to the Domiciliary Care Manager and / or the Manager of the Sheltered Housing Scheme, as appropriate to circumstances.


3. All Care Staff must be made aware of their responsibility to ensure that the system is used correctly. This must include an appreciation of the need to:


  • close the front door securely after use;

  • asking callers to identify themselves to ensure that they are genuine;

  • not let strangers into the service user’s accommodation;

  • not to reveal the digital code for gaining entry to the service user’s accommodation to any unauthorised person.


4. Where a suspected breach of the service user’s security, or a malfunction of the system, has necessitated a change to the door entry code, this will be actioned through the Domiciliary Care Manager. Thereafter, clause B.2 of this Policy will be followed to ensure that all appropriate persons are made aware of the new entry code.


FORMS REFERENCES:

Form No: 3-707 Key holding Authorisation Record

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