How to market to caregivers and families
There are some 66 million
family caregivers in the United States. Health care marketers must include this group in their target audiences.
Four in 10 people are caring for an adult or child with significant health issues. These numbers will only grow as our population ages.
Family caregivers can have just as much influence as the relative they care for, especially when it comes to choosing hospitals, doctors and treatments. Communicators must identify specific strategies to reach this growing demographic.
From grocery shopping to performing complex nursing tasks, family caregivers have an array of responsibilities.
They also share several attributes. They:
- Embrace technology. Caregivers are more likely than the general population to search for health information online, including material on medical problems, treatments and drugs.
- Feel stretched thin. In addition to caring for their loved one, more than half of family caregivers are employed full-time. In addition, more than 75 percent have children under age 18 living with them.
- Don’t consider themselves caregivers. Family caregivers tend not to identify themselves as such, meaning marketing aimed at “family caregivers” often misses its mark.
- Are not just wives and daughters. It’s common for wives and daughters to participate in loved ones’ medical care, but they’re being joined in growing numbers by men, daughters-in-law, siblings, friends and neighbors.
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Successfully reaching and engaging family caregivers is not only good for the health care business, it’s also becoming an integral part of delivering patient-centered services.
How to engage this group
Now that you know about the behaviors, needs and interests of family caregivers, here’s how to interact with them:
- Social media: Feeling isolated and overwhelmed, many people caring for others turn to social media for support. Connect with them by offering tips to solve common challenges or moderating online discussions in a condition-specific forum.
- Family caregiver blog: Family caregivers lack basic training in this new role. Help them gain important knowledge and skills through expert blog posts. Topics may include home safety, infection prevention and medication management.
- Apps: Help those in charge of providing care to relatives or friends to stay organized with a free app that offers features such as shareable task lists, a calendar to track appointments, daily treatment schedule and medication reminders. Learn more about this topic: The Dos and Don’ts of Building a Branded Hospital App .
- Personal health records: Share tools to help family caregivers set up, access and maintain their loved ones’ personal health record (PHR). If your PHR platform supports secure patient/physician communication, this is a useful feature to promote.
Ahava Leibtag is a health care digital marketing expert and leads the content consultancy Aha Media Group. The original version of this post was published on www.ahamediagroup.com.