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You can do everything right to provide the highest level of care to clients, but some things are outside your control. Many seniors and their loved ones depend on assisted living facilities, but the COVID-19 pandemic has placed this entire industry at risk.

Long-term care facilities are home to over 2.1 million people nationwide, but these centers have quickly come under additional pressure thanks to a high percentage of COVID-related fatalities in these centers compared to the general population. Even if a facility has implemented the strictest standards, it isn’t necessarily virus-proof.

COVID-19 is at the forefront of everyone’s mind right now, but it may not be the only crisis your facility faces. You can be prepared for all types of tragedies, but the way you respond when something goes wrong can make a world of difference. Here are six of the best ways to handle a senior living reputation crisis.

Smiling senior couple with an occupational therapist.

1) Start with a positive reputation.

It might be a moot point if you’re currently in the midst of a crisis, but it’s helpful to begin with a positive online reputation. The weeks, months and years worth of effort that you put into creating a strong reputation will pay off when you hit a bump in the road. If you haven’t started with online reputation management, there’s no better time than the present to do so.

(Download our Senior Living Reputation Management ebook to learn more.)

2) Have a plan.

No one anticipated the severity of the coronavirus pandemic. That said, 2020 has provided a valuable lesson in planning for just about anything. Part of seamless communication and reputation management is having a plan in place that outlines responsibilities and protocols during a crisis. Create your crisis communication plans in advance, update them frequently and never be caught by surprise again.

3) Be timely and truthful.

When a crisis hits, look to your plan and respond immediately. Some of the ways your facility should communicate include:

  • Creating a call-out header area on your website that points to your response
  • Posting on social media with truthful updates and requests for assistance
  • Updating your business listings with any temporary or permanent changes

Senior couple in a video conference using a tablet.

4) Give loved ones hope.

Family members are likely full of anxiety and fear when there’s a situation they can’t control at a senior living facility. One of the things you can do is communicate safe, actionable things they can do to support their loved ones and your business. This might include virtual visits, sending gifts through the mail and even heartwarming social-distance visits.

5) Update your messaging.

To avoid being insensitive during the crisis, it’s probably time to re-evaluate your current content calendar and advertising plan. When your facility and its residents are struggling, posting “fun” things on social media or sending out ads about promotions might need to take a backseat to your crisis communication campaigns.

6) Monitor and respond to feedback.

Whether you’re in the midst of a crisis situation or not, it’s vital that your facility closely monitors all online channels for conversations and feedback about your brand. If someone mentions your name on social media or posts an online review on Google or an industry-specific website, be ready to respond quickly and appropriately. Further, take in every piece of information to see how customer feedback can help your facility improve its client experience going forward.

Reputation.com Can Help

Managing communication during a crisis can be challenging. The current pandemic is certainly unprecedented, but senior living facilities must learn to deal will all types of potential issues in the coming months and years.

When a crisis strikes, clear, honest and timely communication will help reduce stress and give people the information they need to make decisions. The senior living reputation management solutions that Reputation.com provides gives senior care facilities the tools they need to gauge customer sentiment, respond quickly to issues, and improve the overall client experience.

Reputation.com can help you manage your response to any current or future crisis. Access our COVID-19 Resource Page today to learn more.

Learn how to communicate well about COVID-19