The Care Quality Commission (CQC) published a fascinating piece of research this morning. A survey of users of the social media sites Mumsnet and Gransnet found that over 80% of respondents rated choosing care for a parent or other older relative as more stressful than divorce, separation, choosing a school, getting married or buying a house.
It’s a well-used technique to commission research to generate a news hook, and this example worked really well. Using social media for the research was cost effective and quick. The survey was limited – under 300 self selected online respondents is a pretty small base. Yet by asking the right questions, it generated findings that will have emotional resonance with a key audience. It positioned CQC, often seen a another faceless regulator, as an organisation that cares not only about what people think, but also about what they feel.
It included questions which, as a result of responses, endorsed CQC’s statutory role. For example, 86 per cent said that having an independent body that they could share concerns with would give them more confidence in care.
So thumbs up to CQC for a good piece of communication.
The survey also highlighted the importance of communication and information to the target audience – the so called ‘sandwich generation’ of people with dual care responsibilities of juggling care for older relatives and young children. Carers UK has estimated that 2.4 million people fall into this category. This audience, usually women, is time poor but hungry for high quality information and advice at a particularly stressful time. The survey highlighted the need for expert, jargon free information available via a ‘one stop’ online resource. The next communications challenge for CQC will be to continue to refine their online offer to deliver it well.