Reputation Management in Long-Term Care

Maintaining a good reputation is one of the hardest things for a business to achieve. It takes many things into consideration including: trust between staff and patients, reliability and the quality of care provided. Ensuring a centre checks these boxes, increases the odds that a long-term care centre will have a good reputation. However, negative news, regulatory violations and staffing issues can damage a centre’s reputation. According to a study by Purdue University for every 1 negative interaction, you need 5 positive interactions to counter it. This means that you will need to counter every negative reaction in your centre with 5 equally positive ones to maintain a positive reputation.

In this blog post we outline the 5 steps you can take to ensure your long-term care centre maintains a positive reputation within the community with patients, their families and staff members. Thus ensuring a prolonged, positive reputation for your centre.

5 Steps to Improve a Long-term Care Centre’s Reputation

1. Focus on Quality Care Services

Ensuring your facility provides quality care for your patients is the biggest and most important factor for a positive reputation. Making sure that your facility has well trained and managed staff is essential. It’s essential to make sure you have protocols in place for a variety of different situations. This ensures that your staff knows exactly what to do and how to act under a variety of stressful situations. This could include protocol around: timely medication administration, fall prevention, infection control and overall health management. This allows you to promptly address issues with staff.

In order to track how well your staff are performing at providing medical care and assistance, it is important to conduct regular assessments and evaluations. Included in this assessment should be feedback provided by patients and their families. This gives your staff direct references to their performance (positive or negative) directly from surveys or a shared inbox.

2. Emphasize Transparency and Communication

The easiest way to build trust and improve your reputation is by being 100% transparent with your patients and their family members. Make sure you are transparent with them from the very moment they arrive on-site, from policies, to services, type of care provided and any other fields that may directly impact the patients day-to-day life. Ensure you continue to be transparent with them throughout their stay at your centre. This could be if something went wrong, didn’t go according to plan or a key facility around the centre is broken (ie pool).

Make sure that you regularly communicate with the families, caregivers and patients about any updates to the care provided, patients’ health status, or any other issues that may have arisen. It is important to be responsive to these communications should someone have follow-up questions. It is important to keep a dialogue open and be as transparent as possible.

3. Maintain a Clean and Inviting Environment

Making sure that your entire healthcare centre is always clean and well maintained is essential to having a good reputation. No one would trust a dirty hospital, so why should they trust their family members to a dirty long-term care centre? According to a Harris Poll “54% of Americans would question the quality of care a long-term care facilities offers after seeing dirty carpet at the facility“. This shows that people care about the cleanliness of the entire facility. From dusting, to dirty floors, families want to make sure they are sending their loved ones to clean facilities.

Your healthcare facility should be warm, welcoming and have a friendly atmosphere. Keeping things light and bright will also help give the impression of a clean facility. Keep the common areas looking comfy and inviting instantly make patients feel like they are at home. Make sure your staff are friendly and approachable, as well. This makes sure both patients and visitors feel welcome.

4. Invest in Staff Training and Development

In the healthcare community there are always new and evolving methods. Making sure your staff is up-to-date on the latest knowhow is essential to a long-term care centre’s reputation. If your techniques and training are out of date, people will send their families members to a more modern facility. Ensuring your staff can provide patients with the latest care techniques shows how much you care for your patients. By providing staff members with the tools, knowledge and support to ensure their learnings stay up to date, you also improve the reputation of the facility.

Staff training and development goes beyond patient care. Retaining great staff, and ensuring they are happy at their job makes the long-term care centre a more pleasant place. Make sure your staff are well compensated, recognized for their work and make special notes when they go above and beyond their job description. Allowing staff to go and improve their skills, also means giving them room to move up at your care facility. Providing them with the opportunity for advancement allows them to achieve their career goals, grow and be fulfilled without needing to leave your facility.

5. Engage in Community Outreach

Engaging in community outreach programs can help strengthen your bond to the community. It can ensure you are the top-of-mind care centre when people are considering putting a loved one in a long-term care centre. It gives the community a chance to get to better know what your long-term care centre is about, better know your staff and the incredible things you offer your patients. These efforts help build awareness and trust in the facility and helps to foster a positive relationship within the community.

Improving the reputation of a long-term care centre is not an overnight project. It requires a multifaceted approach that puts a strong emphasis on quality care, transparency, communication, cleanliness, trained on-site staff and community outreach. By implementing these strategies, a long-term care centre can build a positive reputation within the community. This helps long-term care facilities attract new patients, retain existing patients and staff, and show how much you truly care about everyone at your facility.

For more information on how to build a strong reputation check out this great White Paper “Reputation Management: Your Essential Guide

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