Emergency outreach: ACM features and best practices to save you time when you need it most

emergency outreach

It’s 4 am. The power is out from a storm and you need to enact the emergency outreach plan at your senior care facility. Nursing staff have checked on the residents to make sure they are all okay – but you need more staff to come in and help before their regular shift begins in a few hours. You also need to let resident family members know their loved ones are safe and being looked after and to discourage them from coming to the facility while the situation and potential storm damage are being assessed. 

Luckily, Automated Care Messaging makes the communication and coordination aspects of your emergency preparedness plan easy to put into practice.

Emergency outreach: Contacting resident family members

Advanced options
  1. Logging on from your smartphone (which you can do because the web app isn’t dependent on your phone or electrical systems), you choose the template message for Severe Weather – During (Generator Use) which you had previously loaded from the Template Library in the Help Center
  2. You adapt the message where needed to meet the current situation at your facility.
  3. Now it’s time to send your message. Since this is an emergency situation, you need the message to be sent immediately, to all resident family contacts and you want them all to get the message via email. Here’s how:
  • After opening the Recipient Filter box, scroll down to Advanced Options.
    • For Communication Method choose Email Only.  This will override the preferred modality for this message only.
    • Under Contacts chose All from the dropdown. This will send the message to as many resident family contacts as possible. Only specific excluded contact types (such as Billing contacts) will be ignored.
    • Lastly, click the slider after Send message during blackout period so the button is green. This allows you to force push messages out between 10 am and 9  am when messages are typically on pause.
    • Hit send

Within minutes, your whole resident family community will know about the power outage, that their loved one is safe, and that any visitations and activities planned for the day ahead will be cancelled; reducing inbound calls and inquiries and letting you focus on getting your staff what they need.

Emergency outreach: Contacting staff

External communication is only half of emergency plan outreach. Now that your external community is up to date about the ongoing situation, you will also need to determine what staff to contact with the ACM Staff Add-on, and with what message.

  1. You open ACM and realize you do not have a pre-written message to staff regarding severe weather. You click on the magnifying glass in the bottom right-hand corner to open the Help Center.
  2. In the search articles bar, you type in “staff templates”  and choose Templates for emergencies (Staff). 
  3. You decide that the template Impacted by severe weather has all the content you need for this situation.
  4. You copy it over to ACM and begin filtering who your message will be sent to.
  5. This message is going to all Departments, but only to full-time and part-time staff.
Staff filters

6. To make sure staff receive the message, you open the advanced options tab and select voice only from Communication method and move the slider to send message during blackout period.**

**this option will not appear if blackout override has been made compulsory for your organization.

The final message you decide to send is to volunteers and contractors. This message you compose from scratch, letting them know the facility has been impacted by severe weather and will be closed to non-essential staff and visitors until further notice.

Volunteer and contractor filters

Emergency outreach: the outcome

It’s now 4:10 am and you have reached everyone in your care community with the information that applies to them and with instructions for any follow-up actions they may need to take. The Advanced Options features enabled you to further customize your message settings so each audience is contacted when you want and by the modality you want.

Now you can put your full attention to the emergency at hand.

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