Imagine living thousands of miles away from a loved one living in a long term care facility yet still being able to see daily or weekly updates of them. Imagine being on your lunch break and seeing live-tweeted pictures of your mother doing crafts in her nursing home. Well, situations like these are no longer fantasies because for many long term care facilities, this is a reality. Through the utilization of social media, LTC facilities have been able to keep communication at the forefront of their agenda. People no longer have to wait to see their family members because social media has made it possible for them to be part of their everyday life. Having social media for your LTC facility adds value to your organization and differentiates you from your competitors. Also, any unsolicited posts praising your facility for outstanding care and treatment of a family member is marketing that you cannot buy!
LTC facilities can utilize many of the most popular social media outlets to expand their online reach. We recommend Facebook, Twitter and/or a blog to share information, news, events, multimedia (like YouTube videos). Many senior living facilities have even used YouTube to provide virtual tours of their facilities, testimonials from residents, and some have made videos solely for entertainment purposes! Click here to see one made a couple years ago. Twitter and LinkedIn can be used to build professional relationships with other organizations and leaders in the LTC industry.
However, one must keep in mind that social media must be used with extreme caution. There should never be pictures posted that would cause viewers to lose faith in your services or facility. The following are a few tips to ensure proper use of social media: patient information should always be kept private unless you receive written permission, certain posts should come with a disclaimer, medical advice should never be offered, and online postings need to be monitored regularly to make sure they do not violate any policies. But, if you choose HMS as your social media consultant, you will never have to worry about any of these privacy violations-we know the ins and outs of both healthcare and social media.
We understand nothing will ever replace face to face communication. Still, social media can help you, your staff, your patients, and their families all stay connected. Keep relationships alive and thriving! If you want more information on how to successfully integrate social media into your facility, please don’t hesitate to call us at (203) 294-6659. Let’s connect!