Aged care crisis management.

You may know someone employed in the airline industry.

Whether they are a captain, first officer or part of the cabin crew, it is highly unlikely they will ever become involved in an emergency situation – catastrophic or otherwise.  Nevertheless, all Australian crews must pass bi-annual testing of emergency procedures – or face being stood down. All crew must be able to conduct emergency procedures without hesitation and with precision so as to lead passengers to safety.

Preparing for worst case scenarios is a mandatory requirement.

Residential, home and community aged care is in the business of caring for people. Failure to do so has an immediate impact on lives. The implementation of an Issues Management Plan ensures there are procedures to follow in the event that a failure occurs.

A recent study1 suggests that 83 per cent of Australian organisations will face a crisis at some stage – and that a crisis has the capacity to wipe out 30 per cent of the bottom line. It is easy to see how critical a plan is to the sustainability of your business. Responding quickly to a situation, with confidence, is of paramount importance. It not only allows your staff to continue their work, but ensures that everyone the organisation comes in contact with, will be assured of your ability to manage the situation.

An issues management plan is a comprehensive document that:

  • will map likely issues;
  • define scenarios; and
  • establish response processes.

It will examine the people involved, internally and externally. For example, if your resident’s first language is not English, planning will incorporate effective communication to them and to their families. Materials will be produced and staff will be briefed on roles and responsibilities.

Managing an issue affects everyone and each member of your team has a part to play in ensuring the sustainability of your business. Everyone should be clear about their roles in a crisis situation from day one of their job. When employees are well-prepared, valuable and, sometimes, critical time is saved assigning tasks. The worst position to be in is to be unprepared.

We wouldn’t be human if we weren’t affected emotionally when an incident occurs; whether it is a fire or facility operational failure, disease outbreak, assault or abuse against carers, residents or family members. Having an issues management plan to work from in these times of high emotion allows everyone to focus on continuing to care for residents.

Given that the health and aged care sectors are rich with issues, an issues management plan is not a ‘nice-to-have’ but an essential plan for your organisation, whatever it’s size.

Like the crew on your next flight, hopefully preparing for worst case scenario is the closest you will ever get to pressing Go! on your plan.

Not yet prepared for aged care crisis management? Talk to us

1Public Relations Institute of Australia (2014)
Image credit: Matt_Weibo via Flickr Creative Commons