Coronavirus (or COVID-19) hit U.S. soil over the past week, and in doing so has consumed this news cycle. With that in mind, it’s imperative that we communicate based on fact rather than speculation. Clear and concise communication is crucial in times of crisis. With ASHA distributing an article developed by Hanson Bridgett and partnering with Argentum for a webinar yesterday afternoon, emergency sessions being added to the Senior Living 100 agenda, and many news outlets questioning its potency within the senior population, we drafted recommendations that your teams can follow as you define protocol.
- Make sure all contact lists are up to date for all audiences: residents, families, employees, outside partners (i.e., hospitals, churches, public officials, emergency responders).
- Proactively distribute a Preparedness Notification.
- When protocols and procedures have been established, send a high-level message indicating the actions you are/have been taking – advancing education to residents/employees, conducting drills, maintaining consistent contact with state health officials, etc. This notification with provide your audiences reassurance that you’re aware, you care and you’re doing everything within your means.
- We recommend sending this to all audiences via:
- mail and email
- website blog/news section
If infection occurs at your community or in the surrounding city…
- Gather accurate, thorough information to carefully craft your message.
- Rely heavily on state or local health departments for gathering and distributing information.
- Develop simple, clear messaging based on truth.
- Provide consistent updates and communicate the date and time of your next update.
- Be transparent. Be timely. Be genuine.
- From a communication standpoint, evaluate and reevaluate what worked and what could be improved during the next moment of crisis.
- Acknowledge the positive actions and stories created by the situation.
- Follow up with all audiences. At the appropriate time, address next steps to help reinforce trusting, confident relationships with all audiences: residents, families, employees, outside partners (i.e., hospitals, churches, public officials, emergency responders).
If you have additional questions, please don’t be afraid to reach out to your Client Service representative to get the answers you need.