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Your Caregivers and Social Media

By Heather Brown
May 04, 2018

The use of social media has increased significantly in recent years as the number of platforms continues to grow. Platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook offer many benefits to users including more communication with long-distance friends and family as well as access to news and industry happenings. But, the benefits also come with many risks, especially when it comes to caregivers and residents in assisted living facilities. If social media use isn’t monitored correctly, assisted living facilities risk oversharing of information that violates resident rights and your reputation.

To fully protect your adult residential care home, employees, and residents, you need to implement a social media policy that outlines:

  • What is acceptable to post online
  • What disciplinary action will be taken if the policy is violated
  • Resident rights
  • How social media use will be monitored

For the policy to be considered a legal document, it should also include an acceptance statement with the individual’s signature.

Here are 7 best practices to follow for social media use:

  • Ask permission from residents and family.

 

Resident pictures should never be posted without their consent. Ask permission from residents and their family upon admission and then update the signed paperwork yearly.

  • Never post photos that humiliate a resident.

 

Only photos that show a positive reflection of the resident should be shared on social media (with permission). Anything that humiliates or embarrasses the resident should remain offline. With or without permission, demeaning photos and videos can be considered abuse.

  • Assign dedicated staff to be in control of your social media presence.

 

If your adult residential care home has an active online presence, assign one or two individuals to control posts and conversations. These individuals should be trustworthy and fully understand your social media policies.

  • Avoid debating sensitive issues online.

 

Social media sites are public platforms. Occasionally, users following your page may try to instigate a debate about sensitive subjects. Steer clear of these conversations to avoid negative impacts on your reputation.

  • Train employees on expectations.

 

Employees don’t know what is right or wrong until you clearly define expectations. Social media use should be treated like other policies with annual training to review the dos and don’ts, risks, and disciplinary results.

  • Hold employees accountable for their decisions.

 

If an employee violates a policy, it is essential you hold them accountable for their actions. Looking the other way because they are a star employee only puts you at risk for additional employees following in their footsteps.

  • Continuously update social media policies to protect residents.

 

As social media continues to change, make sure your policies and procedures reflect new trends. Update employees on any changes and include acceptance wording that they sign stating they understand and agree to the terms outlined.

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