Aged care is a uniquely issues rich environment. Providers serve community members who are some of the most vulnerable, at-risk members of society.
The size and reach of the sector makes it a regular focus of the media, politicians and government policymakers.
Aged care organisations and service providers are therefore constantly navigating a very delicate yet ridged path of issues and risk mitigation.
Here are just some of the risks facing aged care businesses every day:
- Sanctions applied by the aged care standards and accreditation agency
- Rape and/or assault charges against carers, residents and family members
- Fraudulent activity by management and staff
- Fires or facility failure triggering operational emergency responses
- Disease outbreaks
- Real or contrived media tip-offs from disgruntled family members an ex-employees
Ellis Jones has managed everyone of these issues prior to and during the escalation to crisis point. We have seen the the impact on other families and residents often not directly affected by the issue. We’ve seen the complications that dementia causes in the validation of proof. And we have formed connections with the government, industry bodies and the media to ensure a balanced approach is taken to resolving the issue.
Ultimately, the objective of aged care issues management is to ensure every stakeholder is focused on business sustainability. Why? Because when an aged care service fails, people suffer.
It is therefore absolutely imperative that aged care businesses have an up-to-date and robust issues management protocol or plan to follow when issues arise.
Comprehensive issues management ensures key managers are well equipped to support emergency responses and operational processes with confident communication. It protects important relationships with key stakeholder groups on which the company’s sustainability depends: from families to government ministers to media.
In summary, a plan for crisis and issues management in aged care should have three integrated components: planning, response and recovery.
- The planning component maps likely issues, defines scenarios and establishes response processes. Materials are produced and staff are briefed on roles and responsibilities. This is all documented in an Issues Management Plan.
- The response component is ‘live’. It requires rapid, regimented reactions as defined in the Issues Management Plan. Identified staff need to work in unison to mitigate risk to reputation and risk to ongoing operations. It requires periodic re-visitation of the Plan and skills maintenance.
- The recovery component comprises actions to secure the trust of stakeholders, by demonstrating adequate responses to issues and reinforcing the strength of the brand.
Ellis Jones has a depth of relevant experience, proven processes and strong competencies in planning for managing live issues and crises for companies and non-profit organisations.
For further information, see our latest publication on aged care issues management.