Nursing homes are adopting tactics of selling senior residences to establish a census. Will it work?

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As staffing and occupancy pressures continue to bring some providers to the brink of closure, others appear to be borrowing a marketing tactic from their senior peers.

Skilled nursing facilities are increasingly recruiting their own sales and marketing staff to shore up referrals, a growing number of experts and providers have said in recent weeks. The move allows facilities to rely less on already busy admissions directors and appoint less clinically involved staff to pursue new business avenues and focus on patient and family satisfaction.

“We’ve seen an increase from a recruiting perspective in the sales and marketing area of ​​the SNF business: admissions, census development, we have a lot of openings there for people who really understand the market” , said Julie Osborne, director. recruitment for the national healthcare research firm LeaderStat.

“These are additions and new positions,” Osborne said. “Where they may have had an intern [admissions employee]they are now looking to hire outside sales or marketing specialists to help with census development.

Such hiring has become an important goal for National Health Care Associates, a six-state provider based in Long Island, NY. This year, the company began recruiting SNF sales staff in some of its markets. So far, this includes two community marketers and a business development manager in Connecticut, as well as a marketer in upstate New York.

The chain also plans to add similar roles in New York and Massachusetts, chief marketing officer Christina Fleming said recently. McKnight Long Term Care News.

“This community marketing is really needed right now,” she said.

The pandemic has forced facilities to restrict visitors for so long that many people are unaware of the options in their own communities. And while sales and marketing professionals have helped senior living and assisted living operators take over much of their census, skilled nursing providers continue to face operational limitations. Occupancy has been pushed just north of 75% this fall, according to federal data reported by the American Health Care Association.

Having staff with the knowledge – and the dedicated time – to help tackle nursing home stigma in the pandemic era is increasingly seen as an investment in patient and staff recruitment.

At National Health Care, executives hope local and regional marketing efforts can help introduce the public to their buildings, as well as the short-term, long-term and specialist services offered there. New staff are already emphasizing touring and creating programming that seeks to reverse damage to the sector’s reputation.

They planned Q&A sessions and hosted educational opportunities such as “Dinner with a Doc” that show nursing homes can be a community resource. It’s partly a long game for prospective residents, but the hiring also recognizes the challenges that admissions staff currently face.

Admissions directors often find themselves remote when direct care staff are limited, and their time can be better spent working with patients already in the building and with the internal care planning team.

The additional sales staff then creates an additional branch that National hopes will drive future SNF selections while helping the vendor organization spot trends or specialty services that community members and upline vendors are asking for.

“It’s like adding resources to your mix,” Fleming said. “They are like hunters and gatherers of information.”

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