Managing crisis communication in the aged care industry

How your business manages a crisis can be the make-or-break factor for your reputation and future success. For aged care industries still under the post-pandemic pump, effective communication is vital as they continue to face ongoing challenges.

A lack of funding, overworked staff and a decline in resources is affecting the provision of information, support and complex care for elderly Australians.

Identified by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, there are a number of systemic problems that have been compounded by poor governance and management of the sector and changing health needs associated with Australia’s ageing population.

A recent Productivity Commission Report revealed over 3.5 million Australians will be using aged care services by 2050, with the sector needing an extra 1 million workers by 2050.

With this demand for care projected to grow in the coming years, and as one of Australia’s largest service industries, it is critical these challenges are supported with an effective crisis communication plan. Something as simple as a mismanaged response can quickly damage reputation and increase complications.

Due to aged care being an intrinsically complex sector, failing to plan for a communications crisis has seen many facilities and organisations fail to recover from a tarnished reputation, while prepared providers emerge stronger and more respected.

An organised and well-developed crisis response confirms that your business has the strategic thinking and processes in place to endure anything that comes its way. Therefore, how your business manages the crisis will have an impact on your ongoing reputation and overall future success.

3 tips to maintain your reputation during a crisis

Establish a plan

As the ageing population in Australia creates both difficulties and opportunities, a crisis management plan is essential to ensure you are prepared. The plan should clearly outline what members will be involved in managing the crisis, the communication protocols that are in place and the actions that will be taken so that you can respond promptly when a crisis may arise.

Appoint a crisis communication spokesperson

On behalf of your organisation, a spokesperson in a position of authority should be appointed and trained to familiarise themself with the crisis management plan, ensuring they are able to respond effectively under pressure. As the aged care sector involves highly vulnerable stakeholders, the tone and message that is presented should aim to ease their concerns and mitigate negative media.

Apologise, act and be transparent with stakeholders

Aged care facilities should always show genuine concern for the safety and wellbeing of their residents, demonstrating the organisations commitment to their stakeholders. This will keep stakeholders informed and allow them to regain lost trust with the business, as they feel recognised and assured transparency in the response procedures.

Be prepared with Phillips Group

When crisis hits, your organisation will be centre stage. For assistance with developing your comprehensive communication strategy and crisis management plan, please contact Group Executive Director Health and Care, Rebecca Williams.