Australia has an aging population. Of course, we’re lucky to have a robust healthcare system to look after elderly Aussies, but there are still issues that face the Aged Care sector. Thankfully, there are simple and effective ways to lighten the load on staff.
By simply sending out a few text messages, you can reduce staff workloads, limit social isolation for residents as well as increase medication adherence.
Here are a few ways Aged Care homes can use SMS as the ideal solution to (most of) the problems they face:
Problem: A nurse phones in sick a few hours before their shift.
Bad solution: You could have a nurse or reception staff member spend hours calling all the nurses she thinks might be able to take the shift. After trying many nurses, and finding no replacement, she may give up and call an agency to send a nurse. This agency nurse is unfamiliar with the residents and the facility. They’re also quite a bit more expensive.
Good solution: By simply using an SMS solution, the right group of nurses can be sent an SMS instantly, and whomever replies first to the message will be given the extra shift. This is especially useful as it can contact many nurses at once, which both makes it fair and less time consuming for the caller. It also ensures the caller won’t need to resort to using agency nurses, as generally speaking, there will be one of the facilities regular nurses available to take the shift.
Problem: Residents are missing their appointments, meal-times and are forgetting to take medication at the correct times.
Bad solution: Staff members personally call every resident, or go around to every room to remind them before an appointment, when they’re supposed to take their medication and to remind them to eat.
Good solution: A text message can be scheduled and sent to residents to remind them to take their medication, which means staff members won’t have to! Similar SMS reminders can be scheduled to remind residents about their appointments, and meal times. This way, you reduce missed appointments, which could help prevent health issues from arising in future. Plus, meal times will have full attendance, encouraging social interaction.
Problem: Staff can easily become stressed, frustrated and feel under-appreciated.
Bad solution: Management offers small incentives, and semi-regular awards such as employee of the month. This only provides a sense of appreciation to a limited number of employees, and the rewards are of a monetary value, which doesn’t seem very personal.
Good solution: Sending out regular SMS messages to staff members is a cheap and easy method of recognising their hard work and showing they are appreciated. It’s also personal. It’s direct to their device, and since it’s inexpensive, messages can be sent frequently.
One of our customers, Bupa Aged Care, have had a lot of success with using our service in this method, sending out motivational messages to staff members.
The problem: Some residents suffer from social isolation and loneliness.
Bad solution: Staff members are charged with calling and emailing relatives and friends of residents to let them know about visiting hours and upcoming special occasions, like birthdays. However, they often get too busy to call around to everyone. Due to this, many residents go for long periods of time without any visitors, and people forget their birthdays.
Good solution: Sending out a friendly reminder via SMS to your residents’ families and friends about residents’ birthdays and upcoming events, as well as providing the details of visiting hours could boost visitations and reduce risk of isolation and loneliness. Text messages can be automated, so that your staff don’t need to spend their valuable time calling around.
SMS can provide the optimal solution to all the problems Aged Care facilities face, so give us a call on 1300 764 946 today, and talk to one of our experts about how you can implement SMS!