Studies show that the majority of patients and caregivers find comfort in discussing concerns over the phone with a nurse, but they are often hesitant to use after-hours call services. Many patients and caregivers view after-hours calls as disturbances because they occur late in the evening, over the weekend, or during a holiday.

As a result, triage nurses have the responsibility of alleviating these concerns for patients and caregivers who may already feel helpless and isolated. A nurse’s ability to provide compassionate care during this time is paramount.

You can better prepare your nurses during after-hours calls by tracking call types, which provides visibility into how your after-hours program is performing.   

Why Track Call Types?

When providing after-hours triage services, it’s imperative to track call types. Why? Because while call volume and length are important metrics to consider as you make hiring decisions, knowing the content of each call will help you make informed decisions about training and protocol for your nursing team.

Tracking call types, or call coding, will tell you the reason for each call and provide invaluable insight into the areas where you are succeeding or failing to meet your patients’ home health needs. This will help you determine:

  • What issues and questions your after-hours nurses are dealing with on a regular basis
  • How often requests for home visits are being resolved over the phone
  • Whether the volume of questions regarding basic care suggests that patients and caregivers have been inadequately prepared for the transition to home care
  • Whether patients and caregivers needs for comfort and reassurance are being professionally addressed

Knowing the answers to these questions enables you to make qualitative improvements to your current training regimen, protocols, and standards of care.

Digging Into Data

The U.S. National Library of Medicine recently published a detailed study of call type tracking conducted by three medical professionals who recognized a void in research of after-hours calls in hospice patient care.

The study analyzed 4,500 after-hours triage calls and revealed the following data:

  • Nearly half of all calls took place within 11 days of hospice admission
  • Nearly half of all calls took place within three days of a patient’s death
  • 25.7% of callers requested assistance with signs and symptoms control
  • 17.8% of callers reported death
  • 15.3% of callers requested a home visit (of which 23.9% were resolved on the phone)

The study concluded that a better understanding of when and why patients and caregivers turned to after-hours triage services could help to enhance triage nurse training, fine-tune nurse intervention protocols (when to coordinate home visits and follow-ups), and ultimately improve patient care and satisfaction. What would a similar study reveal about your call types?

Contact AfterHours Triage today to help your nurses provide the compassionate care your patients need.