As we all know, care homes and providers throughout the UK have been under massive pressure for some time. In the decade before the pandemic, 56 percent of councils saw cuts to social care funding, leading to staff shortages. As bad as those stats are, throughout the period of Covid nursing homes lost approximately 210,000 staff. And yet, despite all of these issues, the care sector still needs to operate 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
Why 24/7 support is needed
Simply put, accidents can be quite common with elderly and vulnerable patients – these incidents are sometimes serious and require immediate emergency healthcare. Aside from regular care, there are also people with mental health conditions or cognitive impairments that may require emotional support and supervision throughout the day and night. Response time is crucial, which is why having a 24-hour answering service can make all the difference.
Challenges at hand
When round-the-clock-support is not in place, this has a hugely negative impact on both sides of the sector. For carers, the immediate effect is irregular working hours and that quickly leads to an unbalanced work-personal life; higher stress levels and physical and mental exhaustion. If these problems aren’t addressed, then there is a higher probability of said carer getting sick and having to take time off – or worse – quitting the job completely. With patients, they may experience delays in receiving timely treatment and care. Conditions that require immediate attention may worsen during the waiting period, leading to increased pain, discomfort, or complications.
There is a solution
A 24/7 telephone answering service can provide care homes and providers with immediate support and bring about positive results very quickly. Here’s how…
• An out-of-hours answering service ensures that someone is always available to answer calls, regardless of the time of day or night. This is particularly important when emergencies and urgent situations can occur at any time. Patients, residents, or their families can reach out for assistance, advice, or information whenever they need it.
• With trained call handlers available to address patient concerns, regular staff can start to relax, knowing everything is in hand when they’re off duty. For example, these call handlers can offer reassurance during emergencies; making the patient feel more comfortable and secure immediately knowing someone is going to help with their concerns.
• When there is someone available to offer support, unnecessary visits to emergency rooms will start to reduce – making everyone’s lives less stressful.
• Employing a full-time in-house receptionist to handle calls around the clock can be expensive. By utilising a 24/7 telephone answering service, care facilities can reduce staffing costs while still ensuring that all calls are promptly answered and dealt with professionally.
Why a telephone answering service supports on-call scheduling
As anyone in the care sector knows, on-call scheduling, sometimes referred to as on-call shifts is essential as it ensures the right person is always available, day or night, to quickly respond to incidents. Having a telephone answering service in place means this system can be fully operational and runs with optimum efficiency. Having a centralised system can provide many benefits, they are as follows.
• A centralised system ensures that communication channels are organised and accessible to all parties involved. It can provide a single point of contact for patients to reach on-call providers and vice-versa. This helps prevent delays, confusion, or missed messages, leading to more efficient and timely responses.
• Patients can quickly connect with on-call providers when they have urgent medical needs.
• Organisation is so important within the care sector so having a centralised system can be a great way to help with coordination and collaboration among the on-call team members. It can help resource allocation by managing on-call schedules and assigning the right providers based on their availability, expertise, and workload. It ensures fair distribution of on-call responsibilities, reduces burnout, and maximises the efficient use of healthcare resources.
All-round better customer service
When care facilities have an answering service on their team, the quality of customer service will improve massively. Not only will the patients see the benefits, but their families too will also notice a big difference too. The following will explain.
• A dedicated telephone answering service can provide a high level of customer service by professionally handling enquiries, addressing concerns, and providing relevant information. Trained operators can offer empathetic support to patients, residents, and their families; ensuring their needs are met and questions are answered.
Hear from a current customer
As much as change can be a scary – particularly when you’ve had systems in place for years and you’re worried that something new will cause a negative effect for your organisation – however, hopefully you can see that a 24/7 telephone answering service can significantly benefit the care industry by providing constant availability, enhanced customer service, improved operational efficiency, and big financial savings. It helps ensure that individuals in need of care and their families can easily access the information and support they require, contributing to a positive care experience.
Want to know more?
Now that you’ve seen just how much having a telephone answering service can improve your day-to-day working life and you’d like to discuss things at greater length, why not contact Phoneta on: 01209 311 311.
Alternatively, go to our Contact page on the website where you can leave an email message and one of our team will get back to you shortly.