Background The Rowans Hospice is a charitable organisation which provides specialist palliative care to the population of Portsmouth City and South East Hampshire. Hospice services include a multi-disciplinary in-patient unit (IPU), out-patient services and a Hospice at Home team. The hospice works alongside local NHS hospital and community palliative care teams.
Issues The hospice has traditionally relied on volunteers to answer all telephone calls. However, as clinical services have expanded, volunteers are unable to easily identify which service a patient requires. This can lead to calls being transferred incorrectly, which is dissatisfying and time consuming for the caller and hospice staff. If a clinician is required, they must be interrupted in their duties to give advice.
Solutions A new telephone system automatically directs all clinical calls to the ‘Clinical Coordination Hub’.
The hub is jointly staffed by a trained administrator and a senior clinician. Here, calls are either re-directed to the appropriate department or dealt with immediately. All referrals to the IPU or Hospice at Home are processed in the Hub.
Outcomes The Clinical Coordination Hub has been running since April 2020 and is now felt to be an invaluable part of the service the hospice provides.
Calls are immediately transferred to the correct department or the caller signposted as necessary.
Callers (whether patients or healthcare professionals) have immediate access to advice from a senior clinician – providing a thorough, specialist response.
Immediate triage of referrals and communication with the referrer.
Trained administrative staff offer advice on a wide range of queries.
Improved caller, volunteer and staff satisfaction in the way phone calls are handled.
Prevention of unnecessary interruptions for already busy teams.
Next steps We are collaborating with our NHS community and hospital partners to develop the hub as a locality single point of specialist palliative care advice and referral.
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