11th May 2020

Care Homes - Media Guidance

By Aston Lark
Care home media

As a care home owner or manager, you will be under immense pressures as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is highly likely that you are dealing with staff shortages due to self-isolation, an inability to get agency staff, shortages of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and food, residents suffering with the disease, along with scared and exhausted staff.

We are seeing increasing reports about the numbers of deaths in care homes and it is likely that the press / media will be actively looking for such stories. It is best therefore to take some simple measures to ensure that your staff and the business are prepared to deal with the media if they do arrive on the doorstep.

At this time, you really do not want the added burden, wasted time and reputational costs of bad press coverage. 

Some simple steps include:

  • Ensure someone suitable is appointed for dealing formally with media enquiries. They should be comfortable dealing with the media.
  • Advise staff not to make statements to journalists. They should attempt to find out the following information and then report to the appointed person or their manager:
    • who the journalist is and which organisation they work for
    • what they want to know
    • what deadline they are operating to
    • their contact details – and let them know somebody will be in touch with them
  • NEVER say ‘No comment’.
  • If there has been an incident and it has already been made public, often it is better to be proactive and tackle the issue rather than saying nothing at all.
  • Be aware of content and comments on social media and respond accordingly. Failure to do so can mean that within minutes the reputation of a business is under threat.
  • When communicating with the media, DO be honest, provide useful information and seek to establish an ongoing relationship.
  • DO NOT let the media be the only source of information, ensure you communicate with your stakeholders.

ARAG Legal Expenses Policy

For those Aston Lark clients with the ARAG Legal Expenses Policy, if you are concerned about an event that may result in negative publicity which could affect your business, you can access professional public relations support.

Contact number - 0344 571 7964

For full details of the services and cover available, please refer to your full policy wording.