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Beat the pandemic and tiredness with one call at a time

The covid-19 marks a earlier than and after within the lifetime of the SNS24 line and its well being professionals, who, along with the battle to beat the pandemic, are additionally making an attempt to beat the fatigue of 9 months of unrelenting calls.


Within the ‘call-center’ positioned within the heart of Lisbon, a couple of dozen professionals distributed all through an ‘open area’ search to reply to individuals’s considerations, whereas a monitor is charging the numbers of the service in actual time. Calls don’t cease, however you can’t hear telephones ringing incessantly with the demand for a solution; all the pieces is digital, quick and repeated by professionals to the purpose of seeming mechanized.

On the age of 51 and since 2003 on the contact heart of the Nationwide Well being Service, the nurse José Gouveia, who additionally works within the normal surgical procedure service at Hospital Garcia de Orta, in Almada, admits to Lusa that this was “a really sophisticated yr” and that the primary wave of the pandemic confronted the SNS24 with “whole despair”.

“We’re the primary line in assembly and assembly individuals’s doubts, since there have been limitations for well being facilities and emergency rooms. We had been nearly the one doable assist, albeit with difficulties ”, he says, calmly, in distinction to the busy days because of the impossibility of responding to all issues.

And it was not simply on the opposite finish of the road that adjustments happened. José Gouveia responds to telephone calls all through the shift along with his masks on, within the picture of all his colleagues, now distant by a couple of meters of safety and with many in teleworking conditions. Once you depart, it will likely be time to go to the hospital to proceed the struggle and get replaced by one other colleague, who doesn’t sit down earlier than disinfecting the work space.

New procedures had been instituted, new pointers had been outlined and all the pieces needed to be assimilated with out losing time, in a context the place details about the brand new coronavirus challenged even essentially the most skilled professionals and generalized uncertainty concerning the future.

“It’s essential have some expertise, which counts right here, however typically it’s tough with some tips. It means having the expertise of screening and making an attempt to know what it truly is: if they’re signs associated to covid-19, nervousness, and many others. It’s the expertise that provides us this ‘feeling’, this proficiency ”, explains José Gouveia, guaranteeing to have“ the identical rules and the identical dedication, however with extra effort ”.

Within the workspace subsequent door, Manuel Mourão, a 52-year-old nurse with nearly 30 skilled expertise, evaluations within the days lived with this pandemic his starting within the SNS24, in 2009, with the flu epidemic A. Nevertheless, even with the buildup of labor within the emergency division of Hospital de São José, in Lisbon, refuses to surrender.

“As I’m in an emergency, the burden has been huge and clearly well being professionals are just a little exhausted, however that’s no excuse for us. As I often say, each day I take my bathe, put on my nurse’s uniform and go to the struggle ”, he summarizes, naming information as a weapon to“ calmly make clear and provides some very assertive pointers ”in order that the pandemic is underneath management.

Not like most days up to now few months, Manuel Mourão is within the constructing offering service as an alternative of doing it from house. Though he misses residing with pals created over 11 years, this nurse specialised within the area of psychiatry assumes the consolation of the choice and acknowledges the benefits in lowering the dangers of contagion.

“The teleworking expertise has been very optimistic. The pandemic has damage many individuals, however for us it has additionally introduced some advantages; we had been already speaking about it: ‘why not be at house with a pc doing this?’ There was by no means that chance, however the pandemic ended up pushing us to do it quicker, ”he says, earlier than finishing one other journey and leaving his put up.

Catarina Rebelo, a 25-year-old nurse, arrives to fill the place. After disinfecting the desk, the pc and the equipment, he places his rubbers on the headphones to begin answering calls. That is the routine he embraced a few month in the past, after deciding to answer to an e mail from the Ordem dos Enfermeiros asking for purposes for the SNS24.

“I felt that there was a have to need to take part in serving to the entrance line of the pandemic and that I used to be unable to train at my office. So, I opted for this place, being a spot the place we’re very involved and we assist individuals, regardless of not being immediately cared for ”, confesses the younger girl, who nonetheless lives at her dad and mom’ home and in addition works in a non-public clinic.

With out hiding that coming to SNS24 was a purely “private” selection and pushed by the need for a “new journey”, Catarina Rebelo already acknowledges the tiredness in her colleagues after a “scary” November that she marked in her early days the height of the second wave of the pandemic within the nation.

“In reality, there have been a number of calls ready after I got here in and it was a very new factor. It was fairly scary ”, he recollects, though in a while“ loving ”the expertise:“ It is extremely motivating that we’re right here to assist individuals and so they present even in the course of the calls that they’re glad with our assist and help. And that is gratifying ”.

A number of traces forward, Carla Miguel continues to reply calls past the tip of the shift. On this case, a father asks on the opposite finish of the road how you can take care of a 12-month-old child’s fever and the nurse, 56, punctuates every query together with her left hand, as her proper hand clicks on the mouse to enter knowledge on the pc. “In the event you put your hand on her neck, you are feeling ganglia”, she asks, whereas she herself places her hand on his neck.

Already with two youngsters additionally concerned within the “entrance line” of the struggle towards covid-19, Carla Miguel highlights the influence that the pandemic had on individuals’s feeling of safety in relation to their very own existence, each individually and collectively.

“The human being has change into very weak on this context, all of the certainties that we had … There’s nothing acquired, we’re all very afraid and the instability of insecurity is what considerations me essentially the most. It’s a ‘bug’ that no person sees, a micro-organism with statistical knowledge that leaves us utterly defenseless ”, he says.

Earlier than occurring to a different telephone name, he introduces some extra data into the system, in a course of that he fears to extend once more in January, because of the easing of restrictions in the course of the Christmas season.

“We managed to regulate and hold lots of people at house, however it is a time when there are individuals who assume that with a unfavorable check all the pieces is secure and that can enhance hospitalizations on this third part in January. I am scared round there ”, she confides, in a 2020 that was“ very onerous ”and left her obligation“ from eight within the morning to 10 at evening ”on a number of days.

“It’s a everlasting effort”, completes the director of SNS24, Maria Cortes, for whom the expectation of “gentle on the finish of the tunnel” launched by the beginning of vaccination towards covid-19 strengthened the dedication.

“We have now to contemplate that the trouble was value it and that we’re motivated to proceed till there’s a time once we will dwell our lives once more in a free and extra relaxed approach”, notes the official, who has been at SNS24 since 2017. Till When that second arrives, it highlights the truth that “no outbreak occurred within the ‘name facilities’” and that the system resisted the adjustments launched all year long.

From a capability for 200 calls concurrently to as much as 2,000 in simply 9 months, the SNS24 has additionally grown within the variety of professionals and in its automation of service processes, with the entry of two ‘bots’ to gather responses and which, in response to Maria Cortes , allowed vital effectivity positive aspects in name instances, not solely within the current, but in addition for the longer term: with or with out covid-19.

“SNS24 began in 1998 with a line known as ‘Dói Dói Trim Trim’, developed to Saúde 24 and has a complete custom of phone sorting in essentially the most numerous areas. It has not but emerged for the covid ”, he stresses, envisioning a optimistic horizon for the service:“ Because of the position it had within the administration of the pandemic, the visibility it gained and the belief it generated within the inhabitants, the SNS24 will proceed to have a figuring out position on the stage entry to well being care ”.

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