Hospice administrators might think it’s cost efficient to hire a traditional answering service to take messages and/or transfer incoming calls to the on-call hospice staff, but there are hidden costs to their limited services. When shopping for an after-hours telephone triage provider, it’s important to compare how many qualitative services they offer. To help you get the most from your after-hours hospice telephone triage, we’ve put together a list of five essential services to look for. These after-hours hospice services can add an extra layer of care while preventing costly staff burnout and hospital re-admissions.
#1 PROMPT CALL RESPONSE
Anxious callers deserve prompt, professional service with little or no wait times. When patients and their caregivers get a recorded message or are placed on hold in times of stress, their frustration can end up escalating into a hospital visit. That’s a costly mistake most hospice care providers want to avoid. Look for an after-hours provider with the ability to quickly answer incoming calls.
#2 ANSWERING AS YOUR AGENCY
Patients and their families need to trust in the continuity of their care. That’s why it’s important for your after-hours hospice service to answer as your agency. Answering as your agency will ensure that your patients receive calming, seamless care even when your staff is not available.
#3 24/7 AVAILABILITY
Staffing shortages, meeting schedules, and the need to give staff precious time to recover have to be balanced with demanding expectations for 24-hour hospice care. Look for telephone triage services that can provide coverage anytime day or night, including weekends or holidays. Look for a service that is flexible, stepping in to provide care when census numbers increase or that can easily be scaled back when numbers decrease.
#4 SPECIALTY CALLS
Typical telephone answering services don’t provide specialty calls, but those that do are providing critical reassurance and comfort. Tuck-in/status check calls, safety calls, pain assessment calls, and follow-up calls show hospice patients and their caregivers that you are involved, interested, and proactively managing their care.
#5 REFERRAL CALLS
Getting a telephone triage service that can handle referral calls can help hospice administrators improve the cost efficiency of their operations. A telephone service provider that can receive and accept referrals over the phone when the office is closed can make a dramatic impact to the bottom line and financial health of your hospice organization.
When shopping for after-hours telephone triage, look for these five important services– responsive, personalized service, 24/7 availability, cost-efficiency and call capabilities. They’ll help you effectively manage your staff workload while providing an extra layer of care for hospice patients and their families.
To get more tips for finding the best telephone triage service for your hospice, download our free guide: 5 Keys to Better After-Hours Hospice Care.