It comes as little surprise that only 20% of all Australians trust the aged care industry. This number drops to only 12% of Australians over the age of 60.
The fall in trust, largely attributable to the Royal Commission and publicised stories of neglect/ abuse, has seen aged care providers scrambling to reinstill faith in consumers.
Sadly though, these high profile breaches of trust by individuals or organisations have affected the entire industry.
The sector has experienced three significant periods of reform since 1983, most recently the 2012 Living Longer, Living Better and the 2017 Increasing Choice in Home Care. It is not only amongst consumers that a sense of distrust has manifested. The sector as a whole has been pervaded with feelings of fatigue, weariness and scepticism.
Aged care workers are change-fatigued and the sector faces the growing challenges of delivering a high quality of care and client experience with a waning workforce, restricted resources, and seemingly ever-changing legislation.
As we await the final report of the Royal Commission, it’s vital to remember what the core focus should be: the care, safety and overall experience of older Australians.
While the elderly, their families, and Australian public regards aged care warily, it’s important providers instill confidence and trust in those in their care. There are strategies you can use to slowly rebuild your relationships with your consumers and their families:
Develop a connection
The best carers have always developed a connection with their clients, building relationships based on respect and trust. Listening to the patient, spending time with the client and their family creates the understanding that the carer genuinely wants the best for the client. Asking about family, career, hobbies and interests can help allay anxieties about carer visits.
When delivering care to dozens of clients, it can be easy to slip into a routine as you know what needs to be done and when. Be careful not to appear a dictator who tells the client what is best for them, but part of a team with the client working towards the best outcome. By encouraging clients to talk, they reveal more about how they are feeling and become engaged in their care.
Be socially active
This doesn’t mean Snapchatting daily life of your facility, but building visibility of your brand and key achievements is important to securing public trust. Consider posting biweekly on Facebook or starting a company newsletter (making sure to host it on your website) to keep everyone up to date on goings on. Public silence from an organisation can be interpreted as them having something to hide which current and potential consumers won’t appreciate.
Under-promise and over-deliver
You may have the best intentions of meeting the big promises you make your clients and their families, but if you don’t quite deliver you’ll quickly lose their trust. Make your statements and promises realistic and, if you can elevate their experience again, do so as an added bonus. People recognise superior service, but when we believe something has been taken from us, we retaliate.
Are you seeking strategies to deliver an unparalleled customer experience and ensure your success in the new era dawning on aged care?
The 5th Quality in Aged Care conference, being held in Sydney from 18 – 19 March, connects quality and the customer experience in two immersive streams. You’ll understand how best to address emerging issues such as restraint and the use of CCTV, explore innovation opportunities in practices such as intergenerational care and mealtime experience, as well as enhance your brand and position through a strong customer focus.