Whenever one of your loved ones is struggling with a disease, or you know that they’re unable to take care of themselves and you’re worried for their safety, you want to be as close to them as possible. What happens when you can’t be? Let’s say you’re currently not at home, or you don’t actually live with that person. Well, if they’re not answering the phone and you’re worried about their safety, you can always ask for a wellness check, or a police welfare check. What is a welfare check, you ask? We’re going to answer this question and many others in today’s guide.

What Is a Wellness Check?

A wellness check is something you can ask the police to do whenever you’re concerned about a loved one’s well-being. It’s a procedure you can ask them to initiate, in order to check if everything is alright with someone you’re concerned about. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a family member or simply a close friend. If you try to reach someone and they’re not answering, you can ask the police to check on them. For instance, let’s say your elderly aunt lives alone. When you tried calling her, there was no answer. When you tried to go to her house, your knocks also remained unanswered. In this case, you can ask the police for help. They can conduct a wellness check and see if your aunt is in any kind of peril.

What Do You Have to Do to Initiate a Wellness Check?

The first step you have to take whenever you’re concerned about the well-being of someone close to you and you’d like the authorities to check on that person is to contact your local law enforcement establishment. If the situation is extremely urgent and you have reasons to believe that the authorities should do something immediately, you can call 911. If you’re not yet as alarmed, but still concerned, you can call the police by using a local number, instead of an emergency one.

The great thing about a wellness check is the fact that you can initiate one regardless of whether or not you live in the area. Furthermore, if you do live in the same city, you can join the authorities when they go check on the person you’re concerned about. If you live far away or you’re out of town, you can still ask for a wellness check. If you’ve tried contacting that person for a while and they still haven’t answered, you can ask the police to check whether they’re safe or not.

woman talking on the phone and looking worried

An important thing to remember when it comes to wellness checks is that you can’t simply ask for one if you don’t have serious reasons to believe that your loved one is in danger and needs help. Before calling the police, think whether or not this has happened before. Furthermore, consider whether this is something out of character for the person you’re worried about or not. Alerting the police when nothing is actually wrong can cause unnecessary trouble. The trouble can be both for them and for the person whose house you’re sending them to. At the same time, don’t hesitate to ask for a wellness check if too much time has passed and you can’t find any explanation for that person’s strange behavior.

Are There Legal Considerations You Should Worry About?

Some people are concerned that asking for a wellness check might violate some of that person’s rights. The truth is that the police don’t need a court order to check on a person. That is, if someone thinks that person is in danger. If they have serious reasons to believe that the person living in that residence is facing danger, they’re free to enter the premises without breaking any laws.

However, immediately entering the premises without consent is not an option either. Typically, the police have to knock several times and wait for a reply before doing anything. Furthermore, when they knock on the door, they don’t have to (and shouldn’t) disclose that they’re affiliated to law enforcement.

Only after no one answers the door, they can enter the property. This right is extremely useful whenever someone has suffered an accident and can’t answer the door, or they’re unconscious and can’t hear it. After entering the property, they can render emergency aid. This might save the person inside if he or she is under any kind of danger.

ambulance personnel posing in front of the ambulance

Wellness Check Challenges

While many wellness checks are really useful to determine whether or not someone’s in danger, and they’re also great for saving lives, this practice comes with its challenges as well. One of the most relevant ones is whenever someone makes a fake phone call.

Someone can do this either as a prank, or because there are certain issues between them and the other person. For instance, an ex-husband could call the police to ask for a wellness check at his ex-wife’s house, even though there are no signs that she might be in danger. The police will charge the person who does this with initiating a false report. This is one of the reasons why people should be as sure as they can that there’s something strange going on with their loved one before calling the police.

Summing Everything Up

If you’ve been trying to reach someone close to you, be it your parent, grandparent, friend, neighbor, and so on, and you’re worried that their silence means they might be facing danger, don’t hesitate to call your local police department and ask for a wellness check. Always make sure that before you do so, you’ve tried every possible way of getting in touch with that person. Also, try to think if their behavior is completely out of character or not.

Other than that, if you have the possibility to accompany the police on their wellness check, you should definitely do that. Many wellness checks have ended with authorities saving people’s lives. That’s why this practice is extremely important, especially for the elderly or for people who suffer from a severe condition.

Image Source: 1,2,3