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What Does Stand-By Assist Mean?

You may have heard the term before. But what does a stand-by assist really mean?

We all use some form of insurance, but not many of us know what it is to BE insurance. To provide stand-by assist is to be there, just in case someone needs you to help prevent a fall or injury. Stand-by assistance is for clients who can physically function on their own, but may not be safe without someone around to help in case of an emergency. Also, besides safeguarding the client against fall or injury, a stand-by assistant may set up needed equipment or supplies for the client ahead of time, while not participating in the activity.

A person who provides stand-by assistance is a literal support person. The 17th-century poet Milton, in Paradise Lost, said it best: “They also serve who only stand and wait.” Stand-by assistants, by their very presence, provide a sense of added safety, security, and calm to clients. Clients know they are not alone, and if something bad happens, someone who knows what to do is right there.

Situations where stand-by assists are traditionally found are:

  1. Physical therapy, when a patient is (re)learning independent movement
  2. In a hospital, when a patient has been determined to be at risk of falling
  3. A doctor’s office, when someone is found to possibly be unsteady on their feet
  4. Home healthcare, when a client is getting reacquainted with familiar surroundings but has an as-yet unfamiliar physical issue or issues
  5. A caregiver during ADLs, when the client can perform the actual ADL on their own, but may need a little extra help, for example, maintaining their balance or remembering the order things are done in

Not so traditionally found is any arrangement agreed upon by both the individual and the caregiver. This usually occurs in private, or home healthcare situations.

Who can provide stand-by assists?

Theoretically, anyone can provide a stand-by assist. However, someone offering stand-by assistance walks a fine line. On the one hand, an individual’s independence must be respected. On the other hand, if a person is too eager to help, they can actually cause the fall or injury they were supposed to prevent in the first place. But what if the client has overestimated their ability to achieve and maintain their balance? That’s when rapport and respectful communication between client and stand-by assistant are most important.

In fact, a conversation held beforehand that specifies when and how help would be needed, wanted, and accepted, would be helpful to the psychological well-being of both client and stand-by assistant. This would be especially helpful when client and assistant are teaming up for the first time.

If you have any questions or concerns about any aspect of assisting someone, whether it is stand-by assisting or some other level of care, please feel free to contact RISE to find out what kind of help may be available.