How to Communicate your Aged Care Covid Safe Plan

October 05, 2020

How to communicate your aged care covid safe plan

As restrictions ease across Australia, now is a good time to educate your various audiences about your covid safe plan. So, there’s many benefits to letting your audiences know that you’re prepared with a strong, practical and implementable plan. Today, we’re showing you how to communicate your aged care covid safe plan to your audiences, so they trust you to deliver.

Essentially, you have three types of audiences, all with equally important in the effective understanding of your covid safe plan:

  • residents and families
  • internal communications: staff
  • external communications: government, stakeholders, general public and broader industry

Each of these diverse audiences have different needs and different levels of interest in your covid safe plan. So, it’s important to adjust your communications accordingly.

How to communicate your aged care covid safe plan to residents and families

It can be incredibly challenging to communicate your policy with residents. With complex needs, capabilities and comprehension, it is not always going to be easy.

As such, it will be a case of creating simple messages, with more levels of detail for those who need it. Then, it’s vital to continue repeating messages patiently to ensure that residents understand.

The traditional modes of communication work best: one on one conversations with each resident, delivered several times. This can be a simple chat as well as repeating the covid safe requirements each day in conversation with residents.

Your resident communication plan should include:

  • written memos and notes
  • emails for those who use it
  • posters and displays in communal areas, like bathrooms
  • daily discussions between staff and residents
  • more formal covid-specific briefings

Resident communication is like McDonald’s

We have an analogy about resident communication: it’s like McDonald’s. Everyone’s heard of McDonald’s, right? So why does it keep advertising on TV? To maintain the awareness and keep itself top of mind. Thus, your aged care facility needs to take a McDonald’s-style approach to resident communication. It’s about repeating a message consistently to ensure that it becomes and remains a strong part of your culture.

Communicating with families

Families may be desperate to visit and feeling frustrated about restrictions preventing access. Especially in Victoria where the restrictions are most limited. This can be incredibly upsetting for both families and residents. Working with aged care facilities, we have seen first-hand how difficult it can be. However compliance with legal directives to keep everyone safe is vital. Obviously, the way this is communicated can help alleviate frustrations.

When it comes to families, we recommend taking a similar approach to the tactics listed above for corresponding with residents. Again, the repetition of the message is important. Essentially, this shows how seriously you take your plan, because it is always part of your ongoing correspondence.

You could appoint a covid safe officer to be responsible for communicating with families. This person can be available for families to contact and ask any questions about adhering to covid policies. Giving them a person to contact make families feel assured, and brings a face to the often formal and bureaucratic policy correspondence.

How to communicate your aged care covid safe plan to staff

There are numerous challenges with communicating your plan with staff. And these include:

  • catering to staff who come from non-English speaking backgrounds
  • managing staff anxiety about covid safety at work
  • inducting temporary staff due to staff absence, departure and increased workload
  • empowering staff to feel confident when following operational procedures
  • ensuring staff feel supported, not blamed if a breach occurs

We are all human and we make mistakes

We are all earning this new way of living with covid and it takes time to adjust. It’s as simple as being half way down the hall before realising you’ve forgotten your mask or to wash your hands.

So, the approach should come from a place of support and empowerment, not judgement and blaming.

Ways to communicate with staff

We suggest a repeated and varied mix of various communication channels to be truly effective. This may include:

  • internal emails
  • one-one and small group briefings
  • formal and casual briefings
  • memos
  • posters in communal areas
  • online training
  • intranet update
  • have it as the first agenda item for every meeting
  • feedback forums where staff can suggest ways to improve procedures

It’s a combination of these communication elements that ensure comprehension and ongoing compliance.

More creative ideas to communicate with staff

For a more quirky internal communications strategy that will generate interest, you could try some of these engaging tactics:

  • Produce branded promotional items like notepads, phone ring holders or pens. For a small cost you can produce these as gifts to staff with a note thanking them for their continued support. This helps build a positive culture around covid safe compliance.
  • A hand-written note from the management team or CEO can create the same powerful impact.
  • Create covid safe staff awards to recognise staff on a weekly or monthly basis. This could come with a small reward such as a box of chocolates or gift card.

How to communicate your aged care covid safe plan to external audiences

As with your internal audiences, it’s important to communicate strongly and repeatedly with external stakeholders.

Here’s some easy ways to make your covid safe plan visible to your external audiences.

Google My Business

This powerful free tool is often how people using Google to search discover you. On your Google My Business Listing you should:

  • update your opening hours (if they have changed)
  • share a post covering your covid safe plan
  • include your covid safe plan in your business description


  • add a page detailing your commitment to covid safe practice, with a link to the policy
  • update the home page so it’s easy for website visitors to find and navigate to that page
  • link to the policy in your footer
  • publish a blog post about the covid safe plan

Social media

  • add regular updates about your covid safe practices to your ongoing social media posts
  • the frequency of your updates will depend on the overall frequency of your social posting
  • publish to all platforms where you are engaging with audiences or where you have followers


  • add a message about your covid safe plan to your email signature
  • write a covid-specif email to your mailing list
  • include a covid message in all future marketing emails

To summarise, how to communicate your aged care covid safe plan:

  • create a plan for three audiences, residents and families, staff and external stakeholders
  • use varied channels of communication
  • repeat the message often to ensure comprehension
  • understand the challenges and concerns of each audience
  • be open to staff feedback about improving policies for better quality control
  • cultivate a culture of positive communication and support rather than blame in case of breaches

We are here to helpIf you need help with aged care non compliance, or simply improving the operations or workplace culture of your aged care facility, Australian Aged Care Compliance can help. We offer a number of aged care consulting services designed to help aged care facilities establish and maintain a compliant, efficient and harmonious workplace. Simply contact us to arrange a conversation and we will be happy to discuss your particular requirements.

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