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2.6 Accessing our nursing services after hours

When should I call?

The after-hours service can assist you in situations which require an immediate response, such as

A simple call can provide relief and reassurance overnight, and calling the nursing staff before contacting 000 could save you the inconvenience of lengthy waits and hospital admissions.

If the call is not urgent, please do not call the after hours service.

Calls about minor illness, management of routine paperwork and prescriptions, organising appointments, questions regarding equipment or service can wait until morning.

What happens when you call after hours?

Your call will be answered by a call service for you to leave a message. Identify that you want to speak to a nurse and leave your details. This message will be sent to the nurse on call who will ring you back.

Depending on severity, the after hours nursing service will:

  • discuss symptoms and give reassurance
  • give you advice on the telephone and ask you to monitor the person
  • refer to locum or an after hours GP
  • refer to GP in the morning
  • refer to other service
  • organise a nurse to visit (if available)
  • advise you visit an Emergency Department or call 000

If you are worried or unsure at any time, call for reassurance rather than worrying through the night.

The after hours nursing service can

  • Give advice, e.g. on how to improve symptoms
  • Guide you through administering medications
  • Arrange for a nurse to visit if necessary
  • Advise what to do if a person collapses, falls or is injured
  • Advise you what to do in an emergency or where death is close
  • Advise what to do if death has occurred
  • Arrange for hospice or hospital if necessary


The after hours nursing service cannot

  • Make a medical diagnosis or prognosis
  • Provide medical (doctor) assistance
  • Provide an emergency service
  • Arrange medicines or prescribe scripts
  • Advise to use medication or doses not prescribed by your doctor
  • Arrange a nurse to visit if the situation is not urgent, or where medications are not available in the home to use

Note: Our nursing service is NOT an emergency service, however we are always contactable by phone and will respond to your call in a timely manner.

Hints for using our after hours nursing service

  • Use your regular medications, including ‘break-through’ and ‘as required’ medications to treat symptoms before calling. Refer to the pain and symptom management guide in this kit
  • Repeat the plan back to the nurse to ensure understanding. Having the medications and Home Folder at your side during the call can help
  • If there is no response from a nurse within 10 minutes of your call, call back. Try to remain calm and patient during the call