Senior Info also advises relatives
Senior Info is a telephone service for older people that offers advice, guidance and, if necessary, a wide-ranging assessment of service needs for the older population of the entire Western Uusimaa Wellbeing Services County. Senior Info also serves the families and relatives of older people.
The Senior Info telephone service opened on 20 December 2022. Marketta Roinisto, Service Line Director at the Western Uusimaa Wellbeing Services County, says that Senior Info has been received with pleasure and has gotten off to a great start. So far, the challenges have mainly been in IT solutions.
“Senior Info’s advisors use several different systems, which can be burdensome to use at the same time in some places. However, the situation will improve in the coming months when everyone switches to using the common information management systems of the wellbeing services county,” she says.
Laura Euramo, Service Unit Manager, is of the same opinion.
“The service has started well, considering the magnitude of the change,” she says.
The change has been significant from the point of view of the staff.
“Instead of the former activities specific to the municipality or joint municipal authority, now the services are organised regionally between seven municipalities in the western region. However, the personnel have had a positive stance on the change,” says Leena Hytti, Service Unit Manager.
What all does Senior Info help with?
According to Laura Euramo, Senior Info provides extensive advice on the wellbeing services county’s services for older people. They can ask about, for example, exercise, volunteering and various services that support living at home, such as meal service.
“We also try to advise older people on the services of other actors in the area, for example associations. Senior Info’s advisory services are also the first point of contact through which the assessment and start-up of statutory services, such as home care, is initiated,” Euramo says.
“Senior Info is a kind of ‘access’ to services for the elderly,” describes Tuula Ekholm, Service Unit Manager.
Senior Info cannot give answers about the operations of health centres or Kela or make appointments for health centres or vaccinations.
“However, if necessary, we will help the client find the right contact and phone number,” says Euramo.
“The goal is to resolve the issue on the first contact from the senior,” Roinisto adds.
Senior Info also advises relatives
Senior Info is intended for older people, mainly those over the age of 65. The relatives of older people can also call the information service.
“Anyone who is concerned about an older person’s situation can call us. Relatives can use the services of Senior Info if the older person gives their consent. A notification of concern can be submitted even without the older person’s consent,” Roinisto says.
“People can use the service on behalf of a family member if they have permission from the person. It is a good idea to discuss things with, say, elderly parents in advance and ensure that the information on the permission to use services on their behalf is stated in their client and patient records, for example,” Euramo says.
In addition to the telephone service, Senior Info can be contacted by email. A notification of concern can also be submitted on the website of the wellbeing services county.
So far, the number of calls to Senior Info has varied at about 140–300 calls per day. The highest number of calls is usually received in the beginning of the week. There is a call-back system in place, so a Senior Info employee will call the client back if the line is busy.
The number of service advisors answering calls varies from day to day. Most of them work on the first, busiest days of the week. The Senior Info advisory service employs a total of 16 people throughout Western Uusimaa, of whom 9–11 advisors answer the phone every day.
Seeking answers to all questions
One of the service advisors of Senior Info is Ulla-Riitta Vikstedt. She is pleased with how well the service for older people has taken off.
“Gradually, clients have found the new advisory channel, and the number of calls is increasing,” she says.
Vikstedt starts her working day at 8.00 in the morning. She goes through her emails and forwards any notifications of concern.
“The advisory service opens at 9.00, and after that there is often a meeting. From 15.00 onwards, I work on things that came up in the advisory service. Sometimes the working days are long if there are a lot of calls.”
Those who call Senior Info ask questions about a wide range of topics, from phone numbers to services for the elderly.
“The most common questions are about health centre telephone numbers and making appointments, transport services for older people, access to home help, as well as shopping, food and safety services. We also get questions about housing service units and their fees and invoicing,” she says.
Kerstin Holmberg, Service Advisor, also says that her working days pass quickly. She agrees that, in her experience, the range of questions coming to the information service is quite wide.
“I have been asked questions about home survey visits and notifications of concern, COVID-19 vaccinations, doctor’s appointments and memory testing. Some people have also called Senior Info because they were lonely and just wanted to talk. I try my best to help everyone,” she says.
Anna, Eija, Susanna, Juha, Kaisa, Minna and Ingrid, who work as service advisors for older people in the Eastern area covering Espoo, Kirkkonummi and Kauniainen, also say that there are a lot of questions and topics.
“There really isn’t a question we wouldn’t try to answer. We try to help the client as best we can, or to find the right person for them to turn to,” they say.
Together with clients, the Senior Info service advisors have sought solutions and alternatives to support older people with living at home and leading a meaningful everyday life, for example.
“We also provide information on the options offered by associations and companies operating in the area, and, if necessary, we direct callers to the services offered by the wellbeing services county,” the service advisors say.
Western Uusimaa Senior Info:
Espoo, Kauniainen, Kirkkonummi (Eastern region):
tel. 029 151 2270
Hanko, Inkoo, Karkkila, Lohja, Raasepori, Siuntio and Vihti (Western region):
tel. 029 151 2280
The telephone service is open on weekdays at 9:00–15:00.