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10th June 2020

A day in the life of a SinglePoint call handler during coronavirus

Since Covid, our usual team of 5 call handlers has gained four new call handlers from members of staff seconded over from other areas of the hospice including team secretaries and our complementary therapy team leader.

SinglePoint Call Handler

Our shifts used to cover the hours from 7.30am to 8pm, but we are now assisting on nights too.

When the team expanded, we were moved to a different office so we could work whilst remaining 2 metres away from our colleagues. Our IT and maintenance teams created a make-shift office for us out of one of our meeting rooms and this allows us to work safely together.

On an average day we can take 100 or so calls. These can come from many different sources: a patient known to SinglePoint; or a member of their family; a GP or other clinician from a surgery; consultants and specialist nurses from hospitals or other hospices; community nurses; paramedics; and nursing/residential homes; and there are many more, but the bulk of the calls come from this list.

Every call is different and often with a family - especially when patient is nearing end of life, they can be very emotional. It is really important we make the caller aware that we aren't clinically trained and we try to ascertain the reason for the call by just asking a few questions, then we have to log the call on the system and code it under our red, amber and green system.

If the call is red, the nurse on duty aims to return the call within two hours; amber calls are returned within four hours; and green, 6 hours.

If we feel the call is an emergency, we do our best to transfer the call directly to a nurse on duty. Also if a GP, paramedic or consultant rings in we do our best to transfer straight away rather than log the call.

Our role also includes managing the SinglePoint email account, into which most of our new referrals come in and information on new referrals that has been requested from surgeries and the hospital. This averages out to 35-40 items most days. We have to check the information is correct and is relevant to just one patient, then we upload the information to our database and task the relevant team that needs to deal with it.

The My Care Choices Register is also looked after by us - so if anyone in the hospice or GP surgery has any problems with it we try and help. We also add any new patients to the register as and when required.


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