FAQ: How to deal with out of area contacts

Guidance and contacts for out of area messages

If you receive a message from a service user who does not live in your area and has contacted the wrong ChatHealth messaging service by mistake then we would recommend that you take the following steps:

1. Inform the service user that they have messaged the wrong number and ask for consent to pass on the messages and their number to the correct service.
2. Encourage the service user to message the correct number.
3. Make contact with the named contact in that area to handover the episode of care verbally.

A list of all ChatHealth messaging numbers and contacts in each area can be found here


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Frequently Asked Questions

Here is a list of frequently asked questions for nurses and service leads using ChatHealth:

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Each organisation can choose how they advertise ChatHealth. In most organisations this is done through the use of small pocket sized cards and stickers that are given out to service users and also large posters that are put up in schools, health centres and other settings service user’s access. You can be as creative as you like and we will offer you support on this and refer you to our guidance to ensure it is done safely.

ChatHealth can be managed in a number of ways – the most efficient way to manage ChatHealth is using a triage model. This is where one nurse manages all of the messages from all of the service users each day. This means that the nurse can manage the messages and only escalate when needed. Through ChatHealth you have the ability to manage a number of messages and also a personal caseload.

The service users are made aware via automatic bounce back messages that they can expect a response from a professional within 24 hours Monday to Friday. Organisations may choose a different minimum response period and amend automatic responses accordingly.

This is not a regular occurrence but in order to protect the professionals well as the service users, protocols and practices have been put into place. You will be equipped with a localised standard
operating procedure (SOP) to guide you through this.

An example from one of the organisations that uses ChatHealth in its School Nursing team is, for a population of 65,000 young people approximately 6-10 messages per day.

Each message is individual and so we do not provide standard responses. It is important to be personable and individualised, think about what you would say to someone face to face and let your natural tone come across.

It is important that the service user knows who they are talking to as they are sharing personal and sometimes sensitive information. Remember, you would tell them your name if you were talking face to face.

Please remember that it is normal that you will need to build your confidence up with using ChatHealth. This is something that the more you practice the more your confidence will grow. It is quite normal to initially write one message a number of times to make sure that you get it right but you will get better at this and become quicker as you use the system more and get used to this means of communication with service users. Remember to think about what you would say to the service users if you were seeing them face to face.

No – ChatHealth will send you alerts when a new message comes into the service. Most nurses manage their day so they can access ChatHealth at regular intervals throughout the day but they do not have to be sat at their computer all day.

No – ChatHealth will never replace face to face care. ChatHealth is a tool in the professionals toolkit to enable service users to access professionals in different ways.