Nursing turnover is one of the greatest challenges in the hospice industry today. To bridge the gap, hospice providers look to telephone triage companies to take calls when the office is closed: weeknights, weekends and holidays. A telephone triage service may be the answer to your after-hours staffing problems, but it’s important to know what to look for. Not all telephone triage providers are alike. It’s important to take a look at several areas where they can differ:

  • Staff Experience
  • Triage Capability
  • Services Offered
  • Technology/Documentation/Reporting
  • Emergency Services
  • Cost

Who’s taking the call?

With telephone answering services, the level of professional support can range from using those with no medical training, to those who provide LPN’s, to those that only use RN’s to answer calls. Using RN’s for telephone triage who can understand the needs of patients and caregivers can reduce the number of visits needed by on-call staff.

Are they able to help?

Limiting hospitalizations and protecting staff from unnecessary visits is critical to the mission of hospice care. If you can save your staff from unnecessary after-hours visits, you can limit the incidences of burnout and high staff turnover. That’s why effective triage is an important consideration when considering a nursing triage service.

Can they do more than take messages?

When shopping for a telephone triage provider, compare the number and types of services they offer, and most important, how quickly they can respond to calls. Another benefit of RN telephone triage is the ability to work with physicians, pharmacies, and durable medical equipment vendors. Look for an after-hours service that can effectively manage any call that comes in.

How are calls documented?

When considering a nursing triage service, it is important to look at their reporting capabilities. Make certain your service has comprehensive call recording and state-of-the-art documentation capability, for seamless communication and continuity of care. Detailed reporting provides transparency, oversight and easy review of all interactions that take place when the office is closed.

Can they help in an emergency?

Using an after-hours telephone triage company is an effective solution for continuity of care in an emergency when you need extra help or are unable to provide care. They can assist in times of natural disaster or emergency to bridge any gap in care by taking calls until you can resume normal operations.

Are they budget-friendly?

Because hospices are under increasing pressure to reduce expenses wherever possible, look for a service that has flexible and scalable service options that can match changes in demand or daily census. This flexibility can make a significant difference to your bottom line.

To get more tips about comparing telephone triage services, download our free guide: 5 Keys to Better After-Hours Hospice Care.