Topic: Strategy

Marketing A Nursing Home

Posted by Anonymous on 250 Points
My job is to market a nursing home that had no marketing system prior; no communications whatsoever. I am assessing the competition but how do I understand what is going on behind their doors? There are 27 nursing homes (from 40 beds to 200 beds) within 5 mile radius (in a metropolitan city).

The target market is Medicare Part B patients (skilled care) and rehabilitation. The target is usually lower income individuals without private insurance. I don't know how to find out how many there are in this area or surrounding areas?

Thank you

Previous residents are from area hospitals.
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  • Posted on Accepted

    I consult with a healthcare marketing group that deals with your situation often.

    First, you are doing the right thing! You have taken the best step a marketer could! You are really assessing your competition. So many of us skip that part for some reason or another. Congratulations, and thanks for being a good marketer.

    There are several ways you can get information. Now, read all of them, because some will seem naive to you, and some will resonate. You choose what is best for you.

    Here are some options that are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

    Option 1. Go there yourself, and introduce yourself. Be up front. Let them know who you are and what you are doing. Let them know that your strategy is to grow the market, and not to try to steal a share of their business. Don't pry, but be observant. Share information. Remember, the person you talk with there today may be your employer tomorrow.

    Option 2. Hire a mystery shopper. This is a person or persons who go and check out the competition for you without revealing their identities. You prepare them with a list of questions, and you then debrief them following their visit as prospective customers.

    Option 3. Visit the hospital social workers who refer people to these homes. They can give you the skinny on what each home is like in their humble opinion.

    Option 4. Visit the Medicare offices and the local regulatory office for nursing homes. Introduce yourself and let them know that you are trying to get a sense of what the strengths and weaknesses of the local industry are. Ask for public reports on your competitors and on your own home.

    Option 5. Check out local consumer advocate groups for people with the disabilities and diseases that your home admits. Talk with their representatives about the pros and cons, and ask them what their ideal home would be like. Then ask them to compare their ideal to your home and that of your competitors.

    Again, thank you for being a good marketer, and good luck to you!



    Winthrop Morgan, MPH, CeM

  • Posted on Member
    Nursing home placements are “need driven” rather than “choice driven”. The placement of individuals into a nursing home is usually driven by some event that causes them to need your product, especially with Medicare A. Therefore, targeting the persons that decide skilled therapy is required is the first step. This includes, mostly doctors and hospitals, and sometimes rehab hospitals that cannot meet the 13 diagnosis requirement that presently exists for them to maintain eligibility for higher reimbursement. .

    The problem is often that there are many dynamics that drive the referral sources decision to refer one nursing home over another. Therefore you must somehow create an environment that drives the referrals to your door and make the referral sources change their habits.

    In turn, here are the goals you must achieve in order to do this:

    -Create a trusting and tight relationship with the referral sources, sometimes on a personal level. Great RELATIONSHIPS create more referrals than any other medium, more than just offering gifts and “bagel baskets” does. This is a grass roots business.
    -Meet all the needs of the referral sources timely and with respect.
    -Make it very easy for them to communicate with you.
    -Make it very easy for the referral source to get the transfer done.
    -Get an approval for placement of the patient completed fast.
    -All staff must be respectful of the referral sources needs, not just you.
    -Make sure you have a good product (all the convincing in the world will not help if doctors and hospitals do not get good feedback from the people they refer.)
    -Maintain a "service attitude" towards referral sources and do as much of the work as possible to get the job done. Have your staff do the abstracts timely if possible.
    -Train all the staff on proper communication with the referral sources. If you are the only one performing the relationship building, but other staff is not helpful, then you will not achieve your goals.
    -Make sure your environment is attractive and then hold an extravagant open house for the referral sources.
    -When the doctors come in and visit your home, “roll out the red carpet”. That way they will want to send more patients to you because of the time they save getting in and out of your home on rounds. Greet them and have their charts out and ready for them. Teach your staff to please the doctors, including the triage of patient issues so not to inundate them with calls daily or at odd times at night. Answer the doctor’s questions, and do surveys to find their concerns and resolve them ASAP.
    -Go above and beyond the expectations of your customers and referral sources.
    -Do not be afraid to build relationships with hospitals that are not necessarily next door, sometimes out of town hospitals can drop one into your lap periodically.
    -Be creative. Send someone from the your nursing home staff to personally deliver “get well balloons and flowers” containing your name prominently displayed to any residents of your home that go to the hospital for a short period of time. This will build a presence in the hospital and create a respect from the doctors, families, and referral sources.
    These have been some tried and true approaches.

    This information is really just is the “tip of the iceberg”. In turn, this subject requires much more time discussion than this. Good marketing also involves operations and marketing working together. Remember, marketing and operations must all work together, or your marketing efforts will never be maximized. Nursing Home providers cannot promise one thing to a customer or referral source, and then deliver another.

    I am the President of a senior housing consulting organization and have worked in a leadership role in senior housing for approximately 10 years. I have often attended the National Investment Center for Senior Housing & Care Industry conferences held in Washington, DC and Chicago, IL, as well as many other educational events. I am also a speaker on the subject. I have recently spoken at the World Research Group, Senior Housing Owner/Operator Annual Forum in New York City. There is an excellent resource on the web site below regarding this subject. The manual I speak of offers real life practical ideas to apply to your practices every day. It is called Ultimate Operational, Environmental, and Marketing Strategies for Senior Housing. All the ideas listed as responses to your question as well as many more ideas are drafted out in the manual with more detail and the tools needed to get you started. It won’t leave you guessing.

    Many people have benefited from this and raised and maintained their census up to 95-98% from a history of about 80%-85%.

    It hits this subject directly, and will help you change the culture of your staff and will impress your employer greatly. Although it discusses many other management issues, the marketing concepts and ideas listed are outstanding and worth the purchase alone.

    Your organization will compound its return on investment in this manual greatly.

    I recommend you use it and then you can pass it to your administrators and executives for the other issues if you wish.
    The book can be found at :

    The home page is
  • Posted on Member
    After looking at your competition closely consider developing a specialty. As mentioned earlier rehab hospitals are a great referral source due to the limitations put on them by CMS they are unable to admit many of the single joint replacement patients that would have previously stayed in the ARU. Consider developing an orthopedic rehab specialization. Work closely with your rehab director etc... Other specialty options include Cardiac, Stroke Rehab, and bariatric to name a few. Good Luck!
  • Posted on Member
    There's little doubt that online marketing is burgeoning beyond all our abilities to summarize it simply. But you simply have to use effective online marketing including Adowrds, websites like, search engine optimization, Twitter, on and on. If you're not found online you're missing many people who are researching on the web first.
  • Posted on Member
    I think it's safe to say Medicare is still a big enough target. You can save some time by moving on to the next step... How to attract the patients.

    The LTC studies I have conducted show that most SNF's chase the same target markets, look the same, act the same, offer the same products, and even do the same marketing. If you do something different your organization will really stand out.

    I have two simple steps for growing your census and profitability:

    1. Create a world-class specialty.
    2. If you build a world-class specialty, people will brag about your cutting edge advancements, impressive results, and unique organization. Your customers and people concerned with your specialty will do your marketing for you.

    Hope this helps,

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