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How to talk to the media about COVID and your senior living facility

Recently the NIC released a new wave of statistics on Executive Survey Insights and asked executives what they wanted the media to know about senior housing.

Responses were collected between August 9th and September 6th, 2021 for owner and executives of 92 senior housing and skilled nursing operators from across the nation.

According to the report, a new question was recently asked that hasn’t been asked before: 

“A year and a half into the pandemic, my organization wants (a) prospective residents/family and (b) the media and others to know ___ about senior housing…”

The report showed most respondents want the media to know that they are better equipped to care for residents than they were last year, and infection protocols are working.

However, wanting the media to know something and actually letting them know what you are doing are two different things.

Journalists are passionate about updating their local communities on COVID through fair and accurate reporting, and the senior living population is reported on frequently.

However, many journalists don’t know that senior living is not skilled nursing, and can lump covid cases or deaths from COVID all into one category.

So, if your community wants to address the fear associated with moving a loved one into your community during COVID, here’s how to get started.

Reach out to your local news station

Most news stations have a general email where you can send in story ideas or talk about your concerns you would like reported on. Look for a contact tab on your local news station’s website, or scroll down to the bottom of the website for contact information. 

You can also go to the “news team” tab of the website and directly contact a reporter. Reach out to the healthcare reporter if you don’t know where to start. 

What Journalists care about in a news story

Journalists care about timeliness, facts, and the impact on your community. Ask yourself, “why should anybody care about this story?” 

Whether you call or email, be sure to talk about what your community is doing right now to protect your seniors, as well as provide any national or local stats that deal with the community. Journalists want to know the who, what, when, where, why and how.

You can also talk about how your local community is impacted by national news. For example, you could contact your local station about how your community is reacting to the new CDC guidelines recommending booster shots to individuals 65 and older in long-term care settings.

It’s helpful to have statistics ready for the interview. So if your protocols are working, make sure to provide statistics that will support that.

Ongoing Support

Ideally, once you have a professional relationship with your local news team, you can update them regularly with positive protocols you are doing within your community.

This effort is a way to accurately display how the senior living industry is handling COVID in your community and educate families that it is safe to be in a senior living community during covid.

SeniorVu knows from our Family Advocate Mentor (FAM) call center that families are asking about covid protocols every day. The FAM team regularly meets with our client communities so they are up-to-date on their CDC protocols  and every COVID question is answered, resulting in more tours scheduled. 

Even if you are unable to showcase your positive action steps through a media story, it’s important that your community knows how your senior living community is keeping its residents safe and is ready to relay that information to prospects. If your community needs support, go here for more information.  

Happy Holidays

Answering inquiries for your community is what our Family Advocate Managers (FAM team) love doing, even on most holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas Day are the only two days we close up shop. We believe all of our team members deserve time with their families. By the next morning, FAM is right back at it to follow up on any inquiries that may have come in the day before.

What about all those other holidays? Rest assured SeniorVu has your time zone covered from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on each of the following holidays:

Black Friday
Christmas Eve
New Year’s Eve & Day
Martin Luther King Day
President’s Day

Memorial Day
Juneteenth
Independence Day
Labor Day
Veteran’s Day

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