Communication Solutions for Senior Living Facilities

by Amanda Cupp on March 20th, 2014

It’s a fact; senior living facilities face a broad spectrum of ongoing challenges. From staffing, safety, and resident retention to budgeting, funding, and accreditation—the issues are unrelenting.

In addition, facility administrators continuously grapple with the challenge of effectively communicating with staff, residents and families. Communications shouldn’t be an issue… they should be a solution.

Here we’ll examine five best practices to increase the impact and effectiveness of your communications.

1. Develop a 3-Pronged Strategy
In a recent survey of senior living facilities, nearly all reported to have a communications plan for residents. However only one-third have a plan for families and about half have one for staff. It’s critical to cover all your bases. Develop communication strategies for residents, families and staff.

Invest now. Spend the time and resources to develop plans that streamline your communications. It will pay off over the long term.
Foster resident retention and growth. Keeping residents, families and staff informed promotes engagement, satisfaction, confidence, efficiency and a positive environment.

Avoid miscommunications. Take control. Get the word out to keep everyone informed and safe… and stifle the rumor mill too.

2. Craft Messages that Stick
Make them simple and direct. Don’t include too much information; your main message will get lost. Know your audience. Think twice about using humor; it’s often misunderstood. Time your communications for the most impact. Listen and observe; be willing to adjust. What do people want? Expect? What’s working for other facilities?

3. Use Delivery Methods that Reach your Audiences
Your audiences vary; your message mediums should, too. There has never been a better time to take advantage of technology. A notification service like One Call Now makes it easy for your staff and convenient for your residents. Use it to send voice notifications and SMS text messages via web, phone, email and social media. Automated features save loads of staff time. Multiple delivery points for each resident help ensure they stay informed. Use flexible features: confidential delivery, ability to respond to the sender, automatic language translations, documentation reports, etc.

4. Remember the Four C’s
Comprehension – Craft a clear, focused message.
Connection – Make it relevant and meaningful. Let your audience know what you want them to do.
Credibility – Make it believable. Make sure the sender is an appropriate match for the message.
Contagious –If you want to spread the word, make your message memorable. Don’t be afraid to entice your audience.

5. Communicate Often
Frequent team communications let your audiences know that you’re on top of what’s going on in your facility. Frivolous messages can be annoying, but never hesitate to send relevant communications. Frequent communications help set expectations and inspire confidence in your facility. Plus, familiarity with your communications helps enhance response effectiveness for emergency notifications.

Smooth, efficient operations often rest on your ability to communicate to distinctly different groups. Your communications to these diverse audiences play a major role in their perception of your facility and the care you deliver. More importantly, your communications dramatically impact your facility’s overall operations and performance.

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