Occupancy has always topped the list of key issues facing skilled nursing and senior living communities, but the hit taken during the pandemic was unprecedented. CC Andrews, president and chief strategist for Quantum Age, was featured in Provider Magazine’s June cover story, “Building Relationships to Rejuvenate the Market.”
Stronger, more flexible, and creative marketing strategies will be necessary to attract new residents and referrals. “The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of multi-channel, open communication in our sector,” observes Andrews. “We’re using new platforms and old ones in new ways. Virtual meeting platforms like Zoom and FaceTime have been a lifeline to keep our residents connected with their families, physicians, and other supports.”
“This level of open communication over multiple channels will remain with us,” Andrews predicts. “Moving forward, it will continue to be about personalized, open communication—answering every question with authenticity so that we give every stakeholder—referrer, patient, family member, team member—the information they need to feel confident about their care decisions.”
And that means issues that surfaced during COVID-19 – safety, cleanliness, and infection prevention – will remain on everyone’s minds. “We’d be kidding ourselves to think COVID will be in the rearview any time soon, to the extent that it won’t be an important topic for referral sources, prospective residents, and families,” says Andrews.
Responding to the trend of rehabilitation patients being sent directly home after a hospital stay during COVID-19, Andrews suggests that referral patterns established during the past year are unlikely to revert to pre-COVID conditions. This means there is an important role for marketing to play. Remind hospital discharge planners, referring physicians, and patients alike of the benefits of rehabilitating in the post-acute care setting, she says.
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