One of the most difficult challenges of the past year has been communication. This has always been tough for senior care facilities. Families are understandably worried about the emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing of their loved ones during this transitory period. They want to know that the senior is adjusting well to the new environment and not experiencing any pain or discomfort.
Even without the additional stress of a global pandemic – which has hit senior living facilities and its inhabitants especially hard – nearly half of families report being unsatisfied with the quality of updates they receive about their loved ones. The communication that the senior care team has with families is vital, especially now that many facilities have restricted visitations due to the coronavirus.
In this article, we will go over a few ways to help alleviate some of the stress that families are feeling by improving the level of your communication.
Provide regular updates
Without consistent contact, families can start to feel really worried or helpless. Most report wanting to have regular contact, weekly or even daily. By sending out regular weekly updates via email or newsletter, you can curb some of their concerns. Sometimes, just seeing consistent updates can be helpful because it shows that the facility is proactive and cares. Ensure that you make it easy to sign up for updates so that every family member can stay connected.
Consider the likely questions
The chances are that you will be getting lots of calls and emails with family members wanting to know the same types of things: What are you doing to ensure that seniors are kept safe and healthy? How are your employees being tested to make sure that they are not spreading the coronavirus? When will visitations start up again? By creating and regularly updating an FAQ page, you can save your team a lot of time and effort. Just make sure that you clearly direct people to this information on your website, answering service, and in your regular updates.
Include a personal touch
Of course, family members are primarily concerned about the personal health and wellbeing of their loved ones. You may not have the time or resources to provide daily updates for each of the individuals in your care. However, as much as possible, have your team members provide updates in the resident’s file. This way, you will be able to provide more personal information when a family member calls. You will also know when it is important that you reach out directly. Your regular updates can feel more personalized by including things like photos.