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A communication solution for reducing stress in care administration


by Pia

Stress levels during workdays have decreased for nurses at a care administration in Värnamo, Sweden, thanks to an upgrade in their communication system with Aurora teleQ. Discover the enhancements made to their working environment in this review. 

Nursing roles are known for their high-stress levels, and the healthcare team in Värnamo, Sweden, experienced this firsthand. Nurses previously had the obligation to always carry phones to ensure they were always available for calls. These calls came from family members, patients, and other nursing staff working in home care and specialised residential facilities. 

“You received calls all the time, even when you were visiting patients. You needed to be available all the time”, says Helén Lindqvist.  

Helén, who once served as a nurse, has transitioned to a new role where she is now ‘manning the phone.’ She operates from an office, handling emergency and external calls directed to the nursing organisation. 

Stress took over the work environment 

In recent months, the nursing organisation under the care administration in Värnamo has been using Aurora’s teleQ communication solution. Emma Henriksson, who is the unit manager for care and rehabilitation (Värd & rehab) observed that the working conditions for nurses were poor. She noted that the stress caused by the incessant ringing of phones was evident. 

Jonas Abel, a district nurse, shares that there were instances, such as when he was in the middle of applying a large wound dressing at a patient’s home, where he had to pause his work. 

Jonas explains, “You’re deeply engaged in your work, and suddenly, the phone interrupts. I’ve been part of, and initiated, crucial discussions where alongside doctors, we’re communicating the transition to end-of-life care. It involves telling individuals that they are nearing the end of their life, and then you’re pulled away by a ringing phone. Such situations can leave you feeling fragmented between tasks.” 

Emma Henriksson continues: 

“The situation was highly stressful for the nurses and also lacked dignity for both the patient who was present and the caller, as it was impossible to provide adequate care for either. It left you feeling torn between responsibilities.” 

It was time to make a change, according to Emma. 

“We saw that we needed to do something about our telephone system and there was a need to try to control the calls better. Since I previously worked with teleQ and thought it worked well, we suggested getting a similar solution.” 

The solution came in the form of Aurora teleQ. The current system for handling incoming calls within the nursing organisation operates as follows: There’s a single phone number that routes calls differently based on three scenarios – during weekday daytime hours, evenings and nights, or weekends. 

Jonas Abel played a key role in launching and implementing teleQ within the organisation. He mentions that there’s been a longstanding intention to have just one individual responsible for answering the phone during daytime hours. 

“A key aspect was to centralise call handling since we offer round-the-clock availability with staff on duty. The team at Aurora Innovation managed to tailor a solution to our requirements. Now, calls are always connected. There may be a wait in line, but callers will get through. The ability to adapt the system as needed stands out as a significant advantage.” 

A portion of the municipality has adopted Aurora teleQ. 

Typically, a contact centre in Värnamo municipality handles the bulk of the municipality’s incoming calls. 

Emma Henriksson notes, “Within the care administration, we represent a small segment and are the sole users of teleQ. Our organisation receives a significant number of calls.” 

Jonas adds that there’s another reason for a separate system within the municipality. 

“We receive calls where we need to make some sort of professional assessment, therefore it needs to be a nurse who answers the phone.” 

An additional benefit of the new setup is the improved management and oversight of conversations compared to before. 

“We can see how many people are calling, from where they are calling, and to which teams the calls are distributed. We might see that one team receives a lot more calls than another team. It’s easier for us to see what the workload looks like.” says Jonas. 

A seamless shift to a new system. 

The organisation initially had concerns about the adaptation phase, yet it has gone easier than anticipated. 

Jonas remarks, “The system is easy to use, and I made it a point to provide support for my colleagues in navigating the system during the first few weeks.” 

“There have been no problems, it’s worked from day one. The entire staff works with teleQ, although today it’s only Helén who takes urgent calls. Everyone handles calls in their area so it has worked very smoothly.” 

The stressful work environment has become calmer. Jonas mentions he no longer feels bound to his phone as before. 

“I’ve found that when I hear a certain standard ringtone, I get stressed out, no matter where I am. And there are other colleagues who have said the same thing.” 

Jonas advises other care administrations to adopt a system where calls are not directly connected to everyone, but instead, one person is designated to answer the phone.  

“We represent a minor segment of the care administration. If there’s interest from other departments, such as home service, in replacing their office phone number with this system, it might also be beneficial for them.”

Emma Henriksson reflects, “Now that we’re using teleQ, it’s clear to see. It’s something we probably should have implemented years ago.” 

The adoption of Aurora teleQ by a segment of the care administration in Värnamo municipality marks a significant improvement in managing incoming calls and reducing workplace stress for nurses.  

The positive experience shared by the team highlights the potential benefits of such a system for other care administrations. Read more about Aurora teleQ here, and find out how an advanced communication solution can enhance healthcare delivery and support staff well-being. 

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