Preparing a Senior Living Community for a Major Operational Announcement
After more than 70 years, a well-established retirement community began preparing for a difficult announcement to its employees, residents, families and community – the decision to discontinue its nursing home and shift to a more modern, “aging in place” care model to meet the evolving needs of its residents. The transition would take place over 90 days and result in nearly four dozen nursing home resident transfers and significant staff layoffs.
Curley & Pynn’s objective was to ensure understanding among the senior living community’s stakeholders about why the nursing home was closing and reassure remaining residents, families and employees about the long-term financial stability of the community.
Over a six-month period, Curley & Pynn conducted comprehensive research about the industry; developed key messages; created supporting collateral; hosted executive message trainings; managed, implemented and evaluated a communications and crisis plan; and, provided ongoing advice and counsel to the senior living community’s board of trustees and leadership team as they prepared for and shared the announcement.
Not only was it important for us to help our client communicate the logistics related to the announcement, but it was also important that we strike a balance and ensure our messaging was empathetic and understanding for those impacted. It was critical that our client reassure impacted audiences that they were not being abandoned and that the community would be there to support them – both physically and emotionally – during the transition period.
In total, we provided 36 different tools – including letters to key audiences, FAQs, memos, scripts, holding statements, talking points and more – for our client to leverage during related communications.
We also provided counsel to our client as they developed essential relationships with other local nursing homes to serve as transfer options for both impacted residents and staff.
While our client’s audiences were understandably emotional about the news, we met our objective to help them understand “the why” behind the decision to discontinue the nursing home and provide them with a sense of closure.
All residents were transferred to new homes before the 90-day deadline and nearly 100% of nursing home staff received at least one job offer from another local community.
After the closure announcement, there were zero media inquiries or coverage about the decision. This, along with comments shared during community meetings, was a strong indicator that members of the senior living community’s key audiences trusted the community’s leadership to provide relevant information.
Today, the senior living community continues to grow and accept new residents as a new era of retirement living starts to take shape, with new and expanded facilities focused on improving quality of life.
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