Long-Term Care Facilities: PR Crisis Management After a Disaster
Long-term care facilities know how critical disaster planning is to their overall risk management strategy. But many times, facilities are not well prepared to cope with angry families, the media, or special advocacy groups after a disaster occurs. Not only do facilities require an evacuation plan, but they also need to a strategy in place to manage the crisis in the community.
When reviewing your client’s disaster plan, discuss the following Public Relations management steps to incorporate within their overall program:
- Designate a team of professionals to talk with the media during crisis events. Inform all staff as to who is on the crisis team and train everyone how to direct reports to the members of the team. Train the staff to refrain from speaking to media, and designate team members during a crisis with ID badges with titles such as “Public Relations Officer” or “Media Consultant”. Determine what will be disclosed, who is responsible for disclosure and when disclosure is to be provided so that the facility takes control of the communication and message.
- Assign tasks to management to handle issues such as family inquiries, vendor inquiries and governmental representatives. Be sure to discuss specific areas and how they will be handled, including: how visitors will be managed during a crisis; what can be done to help prevent families from speaking to media; assigning a person responsible for creating a media packet; speaking with insurance company’s risk management team to see how they can assist; and in the event of a business interruption, the management of finances; among other critical issues.
- Create a crisis management phone list. Specific individuals need to be notified that a crisis has occurred and immediate action is required. Keep the phone numbers current, readily accessible to staff. Keep all members of the crisis team trained and ready to respond at a moment’s notice.
In addition, when dealing with the media, be sure that all interviews begin with a goal and a clear message. Answer explicit questions as directly as possible with facts, not opinions and never speak “off the record”. Also, always place the care of the patients as the primary concern.
Caitlin-Morgan provides long-term care facilities, including assisted living facilities, independent living facilities, and nursing homes, with comprehensive insurance programs. Give us a call at 877.226.1027 to discuss how we can help you put the right program in place for your clients.