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Uncover a Nurse Staffing Solution in Triage


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The current environment of staffing shortage plus hospice industry growth forces organizations to think outside the box for a nurse staffing solution. External resources such as outsourced triage can help growing hospice organizations retain nurses, repurpose resources, and optimize operations.

Labor Shortage and Hospice

In a perfect storm of shifting demographics, much of the working-age population (the baby boomers) is aging out of the labor market (this includes a large percentage of the nursing labor force). It is currently not predicted to be refilled by an equal or – indeed even a sufficient – number of nurses entering the workforce.

Specific to hospice: In the past two years, more than six of ten hospice nurses have changed jobs. In addition, only one in four hospice nurses stay in the same position for five years or longer. Meanwhile, 60% of hospice nurses remain at the same job for two years or less. 

Growth of the Hospice Industry

Based on a Hospice News article last fall, in 2021, hospice made up roughly 20% of the overall US home-based market and is likely to grow at an annual rate of 7-8%, making it the fastest-growing healthcare segment nationwide. Why?

Growth in demand: 

  • There is more patient demand due to the aging population
  • Hospitals are discharging patients at higher acuity levels directly into hospice care. Additionally, regulatory changes send more patients into the home and community for care. 
  • Increases in M&A trends are fueled by industry growth and supported by the cost savings development at scale can provide. 

Over the next 20 years, 20-40% fewer hospice and palliative care specialists will be trained than needed to keep up with the aging population (10,000 people turn 65 daily).

Why You Need Nurse Staffing Solutions

There is an extensive ripple effect due to reduced nurse labor availability. Organizations that are succeeding now may falter in the changing environment. Insufficient nurse staff results in overall nurse burnout, reduced quality patient experience, and decreased financial performance. Reduced nurse staff adds to nurse burnout:

  • Increased caseloads result in less individualized care, patients experience significant adverse impacts.
  • Not enough resources to support patient load – results in the reduced time allotted to each patient or simply insufficient nurses to carry the load.
  • The cyclical nature of short staffing leads to more burnout and fewer staff, leaving you with fewer nurses. 
  • There is proof that the short-staffing cycle leads to increased compassion fatigue.

Increase Nurse Satisfaction with Flexibility and Reallocation of Resources

At the onset of the pandemic, when the staffing crisis appeared to come to a head, organizations were redistributing resources, roles, and responsibilities to optimize skill sets and make the most of their workforce. That crisis management continues today as organizations strive to improve nurse satisfaction.

A silver lining of the pandemic was organizations embracing the flexibility of scheduling. Helping staff nurses by providing a schedule that satisfies their needs helps create work-life balance. Crisis-level shortages also forced the reallocation of resources, and that has stuck around. Non-clinical activities are reallocated to non-clinicians, while nurses often work at the “top of their license,” allowing them to put their minds and time to the best possible use. Consider flexibility and reallocation as you strategize nurse staffing solutions.

Retain the Nurses You Have With Innovative Thinking

These are different times; we must think differently! Among the top five biggest nursing dissatisfiers are staff shortages, stress, and burnout. As a result, organizations must spend time realigning priorities to make themselves optimal employers. Make the most of paraprofessionals and support staff to support nurses and alleviate some burdens. Understand your nurses’ and patients’ needs so you can take some of the workloads off clinicians.

A key proponent of workload alleviation is outsourcing triage. Alleviating the on-call burden improves clinicians’ work-life balance. In addition, external triage as a solution enhances the nurses’ experience. The on-call nurses can sleep at night; they are not worried about the phone ringing for non-triage causes. If they get a call, they know they will have to make a visit.

External Triage as a Nurse Staffing Solution

In addition to attracting and retaining top nursing talent, outsourcing triage can be viewed as a nurse staffing solution. It can help reduce burnout by alleviating much of the staffing shortage cycle. With nurse-first triage, triage nurses become field nurses’ first line of defense. Nurses report feeling less overwhelmed by phone calls while trying to care for patients and performing all the other duties they face during their workday. Professional triage nurses address many of your organization’s after-hours patient calls, resulting in:

  • Increased rest and recovery between shifts.
  • Reduced extended hours for the organization’s nursing staff and an improved workload.
  • Relieved burnout-associated symptoms such as fatigue and reduced enthusiasm. 

This level of outsourced support can acknowledge and address other symptoms of burnout, such as feeling overworked and under-appreciated.

Reduce Your Team’s Nurse Burnout Concerns

After-hours calls are a key source of nurse burnout rates for hospice and home health providers. IntellaTriage is your team’s first line of defense and answers up to 80% of incoming calls. Field nurses can focus on their in-person patients without being called away to the phone, which reduces stress, burnout, and subsequent nurse turnover. Outsourced triage equips nurses to answer your patient’s questions at all hours.

At IntellaTriage, we can reduce nurse burnout and staff turnover, improve patient satisfaction, and boost your bottom line. You can save on the cost of staffing your nurses for an internal call center and the time and effort needed to recruit, hire, manage, and operate that service. We also capture all referrals quickly, increasing your topline revenue and your patient’s healthcare outcomes.

Contact us today to learn more about IntellaTriage’s revolutionary approach to nurse triage service.

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