Five Simple Tips for Rebuilding Trust during the COVID Crisis

More than a third of all deaths related to COVID-19 have been in long-term-care facilities, according to The New York Times. More than one in four nursing homes have registered an outbreak, according to another in-depth investigation. And all this comes after federal officials found nursing homes were unprepared for Hurricane Katrina or a flu pandemic.

The first thing those nursing homes should do to rebuild trust: say they’re sorry.

Consider the University of Michigan and how its health system communicates about medical errors. It established a program urging physicians to speak honestly about those mistakes, explaining what happened, why and what they will do to avoid future problems.

Officials called it “common decency,” but The Associated Press reported it also slashed the health system’s malpractice claims in half and cut the backlog of open claims by a third. The reason this straightforward approach is working might be found in what one patient told the reporter:

She did not feel “abandoned.”

To be sure, when crises hit nursing homes, the institutions face a unique set of challenges. There’s a landmine of regulations and a lengthy list of stakeholders, including patients, their families, doctors, nurses, lawyers, insurers, patient advocates, community groups and elected officials.

But when people trust their lives to nursing homes, honesty and transparency is the best strategy to keep that trust. View our crisis tips below.

Mower has helped a range of clients navigate crises, from hospitals and nursing homes to Fortune 500 companies and professional athletes. If you need to create a plan to help prevent crises or help reducing the severity and duration of an ongoing crisis, let me know: Maggie Hooper.