How PR helps you survive a care home media storm…
Posted by: Alistair Clay | 05.03.15

 

Whether you like it or not, the social care sector is high on the agenda of the mainstream media – care homes are news.


And while it’s right that substandard/dangerous providers are named and shamed there are those care homes that undeservedly come unstuck.

More often than not that’s because care home managers lack the training to deal with a demanding media in the heat of an incident.

Paralysed by the fear of saying, or doing, the wrong thing many providers hide behind a wall of ‘no comment’ which only inflames the situation and creates the impression of an organisation with something to hide.

Failing to engage with the media is rarely a smart move and will only exacerbate a crisis.

A wise chap once told me ‘never be afraid to hide behind the truth, we have nothing to be ashamed of’, and that’s the key to effective crisis communications.

The best way to tackle a reputational issue is to turn up the volume on your transparency, not bury your head in the sand.

Of course, you can only do this if you have the practices and the procedures in place to rebuff any allegation of wrong doing, but this should be a given if you in the business of providing quality care.

Contrary to popular belief the media are not out to crucify you for no reason, but if you don’t feed the beast at the right time and in the right way it will bite you.

Having a well thought out and effective crisis communications strategy in place will save a lot of pain when inevitable reputational challenges arise form time to time.

I say inevitable because providing quality care is a highly emotive and sensitive business so there will be challenges to your good reputation.

Be ready for these. Be ready, armed with facts and evidence, to defend your reputation and you’ll be in much better position to shape the media conversation, not merely be a passive victim of misunderstanding and misreporting.