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The role of a Support Services Operator

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Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic our Careline team have worked tirelessly to provide care and assistance to those most vulnerable living in supported housing. Even with changes in our own working environment, our teams have continued to help residents who need emergency support, medication reminders and those struggling through loneliness.

Abbie McKenzie, Support Services Operator explains what it is like to work in the Careline team.

As a Support Services Operator, there are various day-to-day responsibilities within our small team. Our main job is to provide outbound calls to residents living in supported housing, to check on their wellbeing and remind some to take their medication. If a resident requires medical attention whilst on the phone, we will escalate this and make sure they receive the appropriate assistance. Having worked at this company for 7 months now, I enjoy having this very rewarding job and being a part of a lovely and supportive team.

Our team also carries out reassurance calls to different residents. These types of calls allow us to dial into their Technology Enabled Care (TEC) equipment and we can have a conversation to ensure that they are safe and well.

In addition, where a customer is unable to use the AppelloSBR we update CareNet our call handling platform with important information, such as changes in services user personal or wellbeing data, fire testing times for properties, and access information.

What is your favourite part of the job?

With our outbound calls, we speak to residents’ numerous times a day and this has allowed us to form a bond with them. Even though our phone calls usually last only a few minutes, we know that they are valued and can really make a difference to the resident’s wellbeing, by having that verbal interaction with someone.

Residents regularly tell me that they really look forward to our calls and that they are appreciated.

We feel valued as a team and know that we are making a difference to those that are vulnerable and lonely, especially throughout COVID-19. It is knowing this that motivates us and makes us enjoy our job even more. The residents trust us and know we are there to help them where we can. Some of the residents live alone and do not have carers. Knowing that we may be the only people they interact with on certain days can really help them to remain connected and remind them they always have the support of our team.

What are some of the challenges that you face in your role?

Occasionally, we experience intense calls and have to make quick decisions when ensuring the safety of the residents. These calls can sometimes be emotional as, for some residents, we are their only form of support and they rely on us to help them receive the support when it’s needed.

As we only speak to residents verbally, we have to trust what they say about their wellbeing and current safety situation. If we speak to a resident that sounds in distress or in need of medical help, we raise this immediately to a supervisor to acquire additional assistance. This can be challenging for the team when we know a resident is in distress, however, we know that we are helping to provide them with the care and assistance that they require.

Additionally, we sometimes ask our supervisors for their opinion on how to handle a situation, so that the most appropriate action can be taken. For example, a resident may say that they are in slight pain but do not require an ambulance, however, we may still escalate this to a supervisor and they will escalate the call if they feel this is most appropriate to do so.

If we do experience an intense call, we are able to change our status into ‘Time Out’. This option allows our Team Leader to see that we have experienced a challenging call and need a short break. They will then provide any additional support that we may need.

Residents regularly tell me that they really look forward to our calls and that they are appreciated.

Due to the bonds that we form with the residents, it can be hard on the team when a resident sadly passes away. As a team, we are used to making the same calls each day and having conversations with each resident; therefore, when an individual dies it can be hard to adjust but support is always available if we need it.

What is it like working remotely?

Due to COVID-19, our outbound calls team have where appropriate worked remotely. As I have often worked remotely, I have become very familiar with Microsoft Teams and it has allowed me to still receive that needed support and any required training. Despite having not been able to meet my team in person, we make sure to do daily huddles on Teams where we can pass on important updates, along with being able to catch up with each other. I will continue to work from remotely moving forward as this has been very easy to do with our call handling platform CareNet.

Why is Appello a great place to work?

Last year I graduated from a Fashion Marketing degree at Falmouth University. This is a very different industry to what I had expected to go into, but I am glad I did. There are always new areas to be trained in and new skills to be learning, which is one of the main reasons that I enjoy working for Appello and would recommend it to anyone else. Everyone here is very friendly, welcoming and always providing support where needed. It feels rewarding to work for Appello as I know that I am helping individuals that are vulnerable and often feeling lonely, especially throughout lockdown.

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