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How A Hospice Answering Service Works

Hospice and palliative care providers need live support to help them care for patients and their families, so they use a hospice answering service.

Image of an elderly man being helped by a woman who uses a hospice answering service

Hospice care organizations continue to fill a rapidly growing need in the medical services community. A hospice care program is one in which a sick or dying person can get highly personalized support, nursing and medical care. Usually, this type of support is created for those with a limited time to live. Hospice emphasizes being cared for at home in a supportive and loving atmosphere. Hospice is not a place, but a concept of care.

Typically, care is provided where the beneficiary lives, allowing families to be together when they need it most, sharing the final days in peace, comfort, and dignity. This type of medical support is also known as “palliative” care. Palliative care involves taking care of the medical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of the patient and supporting the needs of family members.

As you can imagine, that’s a lot of responsibility and working as a palliative care professional can be difficult. This is why hospice care nurses heavily rely on a professional, live, hospice answering service that understands this unique type of medical support.

Here’s how a hospice answering service works:

Nurses that are in an active hospice care role will be contacted at all hours of the day and night for a number of different reasons. Their time is extremely valuable to them and they must be contacted in a prompt and timely manner for the correct reasons. Because nurses are on-call 24/7, it is imperative that the hospice answering service supporting them be prompt, courteous and accurate in the way that they both collect message details and deliver those critical messages.

Within the hospice industry there are a variety of specialized fields that a hospice answering service can commonly support:

  • Routine Home Care: In the patient’s home as long as symptoms are under control
  • Continuous Home Care: 24-hour care in-home for brief periods
  • Inpatient Respite Care: In-home caregivers are relieved temporarily by moving patient
  • General Inpatient Care: Hospice care provided in a care facility until patient can be moved home
  • Nursing care
  • Medical Social Services
  • Physician Services
  • Spiritual Services
  • Home-aid services
  • Volunteer care
  • Occupational or Speech Therapy Care
  • Respite Care
  • Bereavement Support
  • Medical Equipment support: Such as wheelchairs and oxygen and so forth

Hospice workers require that their hospice answering service be compassionate and understanding. Many times, family members are calling and they are under a lot of stress and pressure. It is the job of the hospice answering service to stay calm, cool and collected while also being sympathetic to the caller’s situation. Quality live answering services have been trained on how to handle callers just like this.

Because hospice workers are always on call, they will often request that certain calls be directly “patched” or transferred through to them. A good hospice answering service knows how to perform this quickly and efficiently.

Here are some other things hospice care workers often require from their hospice answering service:

1.    HIPAA Compliant: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act requires that businesses self-manage their security and confidentiality based on certain standards. Sound Telecom, for example, trains its agents on HIPAA standards and we maintain highly secure and confidential data systems.
2.    Business Associates Agreements: Often, health care providers will require their answering service to sign a business associate’s agreement with them. Professional, live hospice answering services are available to do just this.
3.    On-Call Schedule Management: Larger hospice organizations have multiple nurses on call. Because of this, it is necessary for the hospice answering service to properly manage the list of on-call support personnel at all times. Sound Telecom uses a very advanced web-based on-call management system to help facilitate this.
6.    Pager Sales and Service: Often, hospice operators have pagers. They work in remote areas that do not often have cell phone reception. A great hospice answering service is also a nationwide provider of pager services.

As long as people need hospice and palliative support, hospice answering services will be there to assist the providers of this specialized level of care.

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About Brian Gabriel

As the Call Center Manager for Sound Telecom, Brian is responsible for overseeing the daily operations and long term success of the company while managing a variety of inbound customer support programs. He also has a hand in taking care of the Solaxis services division. Prior to joining Sound Telecom, Mr. Gabriel held management positions with several prominent Internet Services companies including and Brian started his career in advertising and sales before moving to Washington State. He joined AEI Music in 1995 and supervised their international customer service department and technical support call centers. Brian received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism with a minor in Spanish languages from San Diego State University. Brian teaches adult education at his church and actively supports Christian ministries.