Care Home Phone System: A Simple Guide (2018)

Picture of Derek O'Carroll

Derek O'Carroll

Sales Director

Providing the best care to residents is the ultimate goal of any Care Home. Whilst your facilities and team might be helping you deliver an excellent service, is your phone system letting your Care Home down? Do you currently experience any of the following issues?

  • Your cordless phones cut-out or go crackly in certain areas of your Care Home
  • You don’t have enough lines to cope with regular usage of the phones
  • Your current system doesn’t log missed calls or record all calls

Well, you’ve come to the right article. The first thing to know is that there is hope and something can be done about your situation. I’ve built up the knowledge, used in this article, by helping over 400 Care Homes in the UK perfect their Phone Systems. Even though some thought it was impossible due to the size of their building and thickness of their walls. In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know to make the correct decision on what type of Phone System to buy and what kind of provider you should buy it from.

Why is it Important For You to Have a Good Phone System?

When you run a Care Home, one of your primary goals is to provide a great standard of care for your residents. It’s at the very heart of what you do and a big part of the reason why the Care Home was founded. A good phone system will help you provide great levels of care to all of your residents. It will also help your Care Home increase its success financially.

American Express surveyed 1,000 people and found that great communication makes 70% of people willing to spend more, as people think great communication implies great service.

On the other hand, a poorly functioning phone system can stop you from providing great care and can actually put your residents in danger. Plus you’ll likely suffer financially from the effects of poor communication (from both new enquirers and existing residents moving to other Care Homes).

How Can a Great Care Home Phone System Improve Success?

1. They allow communication from anywhere in your Care Home – without drop-outs or crackling on the line

Let’s face it, Care Homes are large buildings – often with one or more extensions being built since the care home was started. Regular cordless phones were not designed to work in such large buildings. This is why you may experience cut-outs, crackling and unclear communication from parts of your Care Home. This causes all manner of problems and concerns for you, your residents, their families, your staff, even local authorities and the CQC.

Let’s say some of your bedrooms don’t have cordless phone coverage. Imagine your resident is having a medical emergency. What do you do when the paramedic is on the phone asking questions but you can’t be with the resident because your phone doesn’t work there? Are you going to shout down the corridor to a member of staff who’s with the resident? Tell the paramedic you can’t answer their questions? What would this resident’s family think if they knew their loved one couldn’t get the emergency help they needed.

Or how about if a loved one calls in to speak to their relative, but your cordless phones don’t work in their room? You then have to bring the resident to the phone, which is much harder. The resident may require hoisting which is a lot of unnecessary work for your staff and additional stress for your residents. I think this makes the true extent of the cordless phone problems clear.

With a great care home phone system, your cordless phones will work in your entire premises. So, if you need to take the phone to a resident so they can speak with a loved one. Or, if you need to speak with a paramedic in their room – you can. Cordless phones that work in your entire Care Home are a huge advantage and really help you provide better care to your residents. The way Yo Telecom have guaranteed cordless phone coverage in over 400 care homes (ranging in size from 5 bedrooms to 145 bedrooms) is unique and works every time. We’re so confident in this ability we’ll give you the guarantee in writing.

2. Say goodbye to engaged tones with 21st century lines

From what I’ve seen, a lot of Care Homes are still using analogue phone lines. The technology that was invented in 1909! One of the main issues with analogue lines is that they only allow one call per line. So, if you’re busy on your line and someone phones you, they’ll just hear an engaged tone. Likewise, if you need to make a call but one of your colleagues is on the line, your phone can’t make an outbound call. You’ll be glad to hear, things have come a long way and improved since 1909. You can now make and receive more than one phone call through one phone number. So, with a great phone system, when you need to make that important call to a doctor you’ll be able to. Even if your colleagues are already busy on the phone. That’s great care for your residents.

3. Miss fewer calls from potential residents’ families

The average Care Home misses 7 calls per day. That’s 2,555 missed calls a year! Some of those missed calls are people enquiring. Put yourself in an enquirers shoes. Imagine you need to find a good care home for your mum. What do you do? You do a Google search “Care Homes near me” and Google gives you loads of options. So you look through, maybe check a few websites out, and you decide to call one of the Care Homes to ask some questions. If they answer, you arrange a time to have a look around the Care Home.

However, you call and, for whatever reason, the Care Home doesn’t pick up the phone. What impression does that leave with you?

  • Are they understaffed?
  • Do they not care?
  • Is this a professional Care Home?

It certainly doesn’t leave a good impression. So, you click back on your web browser and phone the next Care Home. Opportunity lost?

Not when the Care Home has a Yo Telecom phone system! With a Yo Telecom Phone System, Care Homes can delight disappointed callers by instantly seeing their missed call and returning it! So picture this, you’re just about to call the next Care Home on the list and, your phone rings… you pick up. “Hi there, I’m phoning you back from ’XYZ Care Home’ – I’m so sorry I missed your call a minute ago. How may I help you today?”

Instantly, your expectations have been exceeded. There is no way you were expecting a callback. So, you book in to take a look at the Care Home. You’re still impressed so you end up placing your mum in the Care Home. That’s a great phone system, helping Care Homes to increase their profitability by helping more residents!

4. Improve staff communication with Call Recording

NOTE: The following story is filled with grief and may be upsetting to some.

There’s a small Care Home we work with. A nice little residential care home in the west of England with 16 bedrooms. It’s run by one of the kindest, most caring, ladies I’ve ever met. She’s from Malaysia. The problem; for some strange reason they had 4 vacancies that they couldn’t seem to fill. This was causing financial stress and difficulty for her and her family. Her small care home was running at 75% occupancy. Those last 4 missing residents are the profit her Care Home needed, it was operating at break-even at best. In months where she had to use agency staff, she made a loss.

Anyway, she finds out from a friend about Yo Telecom’s purpose. To help Care Homes increase their success and help them provide better care for their residents. She reached out to us to find out how. To cut a long story short, after seeing our demo, she signed up with us. She goes for our platinum communications plan, which has the powerful tool; Call Recording.

No good Care Home should be running at 75%, so we knew something must be going on.

So we trained and instructed her to use her new Call Recording feature to listen to inbound calls – so she could see how staff are performing when she’s not around. We asked her to listen to just 10 calls per week. Around 3 or 4 weeks pass and I get a phone call from her. Hysterical. Absolutely breaking down in tears. So I calmed her down and asked her what’s happening? After a minute or two of gasping for air, she explains;

“I was listening to inbound calls. A man phoned in, enquiring about our Care Home. My deputy manager told him we’re full and not accepting any more people on our ‘waiting list’. To make it worse, she told him to call the care home across the road and even gave him the number!”

She was distraught. She’d just found out someone she’d trusted had betrayed her and was actively trying to sink her Care Home behind her back. You can guess what happened next. The deputy was confronted and fired on the spot. Within two months, the Care Home was running at full occupancy and was profitable again. Skip forward to 2 years and she’s got planning permission for 6 extra bedrooms and construction soon is starting soon. Our client, the true hero of the story, went from financial problems to profitable and growing with the tools and guidance we provided her with. This story brings tears of happiness to my eye every time I tell it.

This is just an example of how we have helped one Care Home to increase their success. We have many more success stories up our sleeve – let’s hear from a few of our clients;

Find more happy customer testimonials over on our YoTelecom YouTube Channel.

3 Step Plan to Increase the Success of Your Care Home

1. Book a demo

Book in for a free demo of our phone systems by calling us on 02382 146115.

2. Sign up for the option that suits the need of your Care Home

One of our specialist Care Home consultants will come to your home and discuss all of your options until we have come up with the perfect solution that meets your requirements.

3. Let us take care of a hassle free installation & training

Your delivery and installation date will be booked on a day that suits you. We’ll take care of the whole switch over and will train you to make the most of all of the features on your new care home phone system!

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