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Building the Reputation of Your Aged Care Facility

August 9, 2016 0 Comments

The reputation of your Aged Care Facility can never be taken lightly. In this era of social media, 24/7 online access to current news events, and a technologically advanced society where the majority of people carry a camera and recording device with them through their mobile phone or tablet – never, ever underestimate the damage that can be caused to your reputation and business within an instant.

While many organisations forget the importance of good reputation capital as they focus on day-to-day tasks and ‘in your face’ emergencies, Aged Care Facilities should not. Your services not only need to fulfill industry standards, humane expectations and professional standards – there is also a lot of emotion surrounding the way your services are delivered.

Consider the recent abuse reports within Aged Care Facilities, particularly the video footage involving an Aged Care Worker “sneezing on and attempting to force-feed” an elderly client in South Australia. The justified anger and outrage that this abuse elicited caused the footage to go viral – and in turn outraged an entire nation, with calls now to have video cameras installed within facilities. While the Residential Care Facility in question assisted police with their investigation and were equally upset by the incident, the question becomes: will the Aged Care Facility ever recover their reputation capital?

If your organisation is well regarded by your main customers (your residents and their families), your staff, the community in which your facility is located, your peers in the Health Care Industry, the government regulators that you deal with, your suppliers, and the training institutions you may be affiliated with, then these people can influence how dramatic a rise or fall of your reputation capital can be. Their respect can be a solid support when things don’t go to plan, and will be more inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt if your reputation is in jeopardy.

Of course, a business’ reputation capital can never be 100% – as you’ll never please everybody. There is always someone who disagrees with your methods, has a disliking for one of your staff members, or has an issue with something that you may not even have any control over. So to believe you can achieve the perfect balance of reputation capital would be naive.

However there are ways to help influence your Aged Care Facility’s reputation capital positively:

  • Be reliable – deliver what you say your facility can do and adhere rigorously to your processes and practices that consistently and reliably produce the right results.
  • Show confidence – stand behind your services and people, and have confidence in the products and procedures you use.
  • Be honest – admit when you’ve got it wrong. We all make mistakes – denying it and using pitiful excuses to excuse poor service only makes the one spouting the excuses feel better (in the short term), but does little for your reputation.
  • Treat all with respect – this includes residents, their families, your workers, the community, your suppliers and even potential employees.
  • Communicate – make communication a huge factor in your processes. Develop methods of communication between staff, residents, resident’s families, and the community. Encourage your care workers to know as much as possible (without being intrusive) about the people they care for and their families to better understand and build rapport.
  • Be ethical – this means doing the right thing. An organisation that behaves ethically gains respect and is considered trustworthy.
  • Invest in your employees – treat your people well and encourage their active contribution into improving your facility. Assess each staff member’s strengths and weaknesses, then focus on ways to capitalise on the strengths and strengthen the weaknesses – through more support and training.
  • Take leadership duties seriously – “water flows from the top, down”. If the water at the top is septic, by the time it reaches the bottom… it is not healthy at all. Be a leader that your people are proud to follow. Exhibit traits that others want to emulate.
  • Have a clear vision – know what you want the organization to achieve. Measure your results regularly against the goals you’ve set down, and act to improve to achieve your vision. In your actions remember to uphold ethics, quality, honesty, respect for others, and reliability.
  • Focus on quality – offer high quality services, employ high quality health care workers, supply high quality training, and use high quality products.

Back to Basics Care offers high quality training for qualification and CPD programs. With abuse in Aged Care Facilities being highlighted so much in the media recently, please take a moment to read about our CPD Program: Elder Abuse – Mandatory Reporting. Please let us know how we can assist you with your staff’s training needs.

Filed in: Workplace Tips

About the Author:

Susan Stephens is the Managing Director and driving force behind Back to Basics Care. She is dedicated to providing quality learning and development opportunities to the Health Care Industry, and bringing you current and useful information applicable to the sector.

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