The first step is to organise your team. Assess what skills you have, what further skills you will need, and assign roles and responsibilities.
The nature of your organisation’s work will determine what these skills are. When CHAS originally implemented this recipe, all of their Kindness Callers were trained and experienced nurses. The callers needed to be able to identify families in crisis and intervene. Callers also received social services and referral training.
By establishing your objectives, and defining the support you want to offer service users, you will be able to decide what training your team will need.
Design what you want your service to look like. What can you reasonably expect to deliver with the resources you have available?
Decide on a format for sessions. What do your service users need? How best can you deliver this to them with the resources you have at your disposal?
2. Assess your service users’ needs and preferences
Gather information on your service users’ needs and preferences to use for the next steps. Information on their level of access to digital technology will be especially useful.
Find out what digital platforms your service users are already using. This will help to build a smoother transition.
Assess any risks or privacy and data management concerns.
3. Decide on a platform
Using information from the previous step, see if there is a platform that the majority of your service users are comfortable using. Assess whether the platform can meet all their needs.
For example, if you are working with service users who are hearing-impaired, you will want to consider options that support closed captioning or similar functionality.
4. Prepare for the session
Plan for sessions before holding them. Decide how you want the session to go, and what your aims and outcomes are.
Use information from your CRM database to inform yourself on the needs of the user. Find out what their previous interactions with your organisation have been. You can use all of this information to make the session more effective.
Make sure your team is both trained and supported. Making multiple calls to people in distress can be emotionally draining. Ensure that all team members are trained to handle these conversations and know who to go to if they are having difficulty.
5. Hold the session
Be sensitive to the needs of the service user during the session. Be prepared to answer questions and signpost further resources and support.
Practice active listening during the call. Be informed of your organisation’s internal processes and ensure you refer to internal and external services if needed.
Make arrangements for the next call. This means assessing whether one is needed and deciding whether referring to other services would be beneficial.
6. Gather feedback and optimise
Gather feedback from service users where appropriate. Use this alongside any other data to help inform changes to the service.
Use this information to assess and track the changing needs of families at different stages of the pandemic.
When working with service users with complex health needs, they may need to shield for the entire duration of the pandemic, so it is important to gather information on how their needs have changed and developed in order to help you tailor other services. Needs will change to reflect alterations to lockdown restrictions. Ensure that you can offer the best support and care by keeping your services flexible.
Many thanks to Children's Hospices Across Scotland for contributing this recipe.
This recipe is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.
That means you are free to copy, redistribute, and build on the text of this recipe, but only for non-commercial purposes (if you want to use it for commercial purposes, get in touch with us at [email protected]). You must give credit to both Catalyst and Children's Hospices Across Scotland and link back to this page. If you build on this recipe then you must share your version under this same licence.
Do you have thoughts on this recipe? We would love to hear from you.