With the aging population of Australia set to explode, media scrutiny of the aged care sector will only increase as aged care becomes increasingly topical for a large portion of Australians.
Coupled with the shake-up as the Federal Government implements its Living Longer Living Better aged care reforms and persistent scandals such as the allegations of starvation, beatings and suspicious deaths at a Bundaberg facility which was recently brough to national attention, the industry cannot get escape the bad publicity and reputation damage plaguing it.
Struggling to overcome the negative perceptions created by the initial failure to act in times of crisis, the mishandling of media communications from previous scandals such as the senate inquiry into young people with severe physical, mental or intellectual disabilities being forced into aged care facilities, the 2011 Quakers Hill murders by arson by drug addicted nurse Roger David still making news in 2015, and persistent abuse scandals, has left the industry as a whole struggling to redeem itself in the eyes of the community.
Resources such as the Federal Government’s Department of Health website and independent review websites such as Aged Care Guide and Aged Care Reviews provide details of current and previous sanctions against aged care providers in each state and the sanctions imposed upon them, providing a long reaching history of black marks against service providers. A few hours online will soon identify the good and not so good operators in the industry.
The aged care industry needs to take definitive action to implement better crisis planning and management will need to strive for the open communication, honesty and transparency they appear to be lacking if they are to overcome these negative perceptions from the community.
Management of their online presence is also critical as unaddressed criticism and complaints can create a media story all on their own.