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A Typical Shift as a Support Services Operator

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Following on from our last blog post, Support Services Operator, Abbie McKenzie talks us through her day to day role and the tasks included.

The days always vary slightly on the tasks needing to be done, but these are often divided between the team. We tend to work around our busy call periods as ensuring the residents safety is always our main priority. If we do not have a response when trying to contact a resident, then we reschedule the call three times. These rescheduled calls are 10 minutes apart to allow the residents time to hear and answer their phone. If there is still no response after three attempts, then we begin to call their emergency contacts for an update or ask them to attend and check on the resident.

Here is a typical schedule of our morning and evening shifts:

7:00am – 8:00am: Spoke with Mrs Hodge who was just getting ready to start her day, she was enjoying her breakfast, with a cup of tea. Apparently, a nice morning in South Wales!

8:00am – 9:00am: Mr Wilks sounded breathless when he answered his call but reassured me that he was fine and no medical assistance was required. Some residents do take longer to answer their phone calls due to mobility issues and so they may be slightly breathless upon answering. We do take this into account during their wellbeing calls and often ask if this is the case to ensure they are safe and well or if they require medical help. We have to trust what the resident says and make our best judgements. At the end of the call, I confirmed with Mr Wilks that he was safe and well and reminded him to press her alarm is he required any help later on. I then ended the call and updated this information to the call notes.

9:00am – 10:00am: I have a lovely daily call with a very elderly woman, Miss Peters who lives alone, she’s a big fan of Phillip Schofield!  We are often the only people she will speak to during the day. She always enjoys a chat about the news, the breakfast she has had that morning, and her plans for the day.

11:00am – 12:00pm: Mrs Murray did not respond to her wellbeing call. I rescheduled this call three times, with 10 minutes apart each time. I called her first NOK emergency contact who informed me that the resident had been taken to hospital and would let us know when she returns. I made a note of this on the resident’s details to ensure that this is clear for other operators and informed the team during the huddle.

5:00pm – 6:00pm: Mr Franks that we call daily during this hour had been in hospital for a few days and so I contacted his next of kin (NOK) to see if there was any update. The NOK informed me that the Mr Franks had sadly passed away within the last few days. I then had to update the resident’s details to show this, cancelled her daily calls, and informed the rest of the team in the daily huddle.

6:00pm – 7:00pm: On a routine medication reminder call, Mr Ipley did not respond. I rescheduled this call three times, with 10 minutes apart each time. As Age UK was the first emergency contact for Mr Ipley, I called them, and they then sent out responders to check on him. We received a call back from AgeUK later on to inform us that the Mr Ipley was fine. This information was then updated to the residents’ notes for the next operator to see the following day.

8:00pm – 9:00pm: Our calls with residents at this property requires our team to use a specific code word when we first greet them on the phone. This code word is to let the residents know that it is our team calling them and that they are safe to talk to us over the phone. This call is to ensure that they are safe and well within their home and to ask if any immediate help is required.

9:00pm – 10:00pm: Spoke with one of our funniest customer Mrs Harvey who was just on her way to bed, reminded her to lock the door and close windows. We do this by staying on the phone with the residents during each step of their locking up routine so that we know, as operators, that they are safe and secure by the end of the call. I then note on their records that this has been done and my colleagues can see this the following day.

This is a very rewarding job as our calls have become a part of the daily routine for some residents. The majority of residents know the exact time we are going to call and check up on them; therefore, it is important for us to be punctual. It is also vital for the team to always follow the correct procedure and escalate calls to a supervisor immediately if required.  The residents rely on us to ensure their safety, wellbeing and provide any help and assistance they may require.

*Customer names have been changed for confidentiality.

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