An Aging Nation
As the U.S. population ages, more Americans are expected to need the services of nursing homes – around 2.7 million people by 2040, according to some projections. If you are in the nursing home business, the next 25 years are poised to be a time of unprecedented growth.
Is your facility prepared to get its fair share of this increasingly large opportunity?
Nursing Homes in the Digital Age
For those people, and/or their loved ones, that are among that 2.7 million people, there are some important steps they will likely take to locate facilities that might be suitable for them among the approximately 16,000 located around the United States.
Researching nursing homes is much easier these days thanks to the growing number of resources available online. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency that oversees Medicare, offers a helpful database that you can find on the Medicare website. Click on “Find Nursing Homes,” to begin.
The database not only lets you search for homes by location, it offers a rating of the nursing home’s quality, ranging from one to five stars. The Medicare database includes a lot of other information that will matter to your prospective clients too: health inspection results, nursing home staffing numbers and fire safety findings, among other things. The database also highlights the nursing homes that are considered the most troubled, known as “special focus facilities.” Most of the information comes from feedback gathered from residents, family members and employees.
A number of other Web sites focus on the same data as the federal database, but boil down the information differently. One is MemberoftheFamily.net. The site offers color-coded ratings based on the federal nursing-home data. HealthGrades.com, charges for its reports, though their quality findings too are based on the inspection data used in the federal site. Various federal government sites can guide you toward the best state and local groups. Another good place to go is Eldercare.gov, which helps you search for nonprofit and government entities in your area that specialize in helping older adults. ConsumerReports.org also has nursing-home and assisted living information…nursing homes are now rated on Yelp too! Internet research on nationally-focused sites is only a starting point for your prospective residents and their families. Many states and localities have their own nursing home information sites, which are often more in-depth than the broader Web tools. Your own website is also a prime place to showcase your facility as people are nearly 100% certain to visit it before they visit you!
Positioning Your Facility
The point, of course, in describing some of these resources is to emphasize the breadth of information out there for people in need of nursing home and care facilities. Making a decision to choose one facility over another is not something that people enter into lightly. These are decisions that will have profound effects on them and/or their loved ones and an appropriate amount of research is likely to be done.
Customer & peer reviews are key to purchase decisions in every industry, including nursing home care. If your facility is under performing in the eyes of your residents and/or their families, you can bet that the negative reviews will have an equally negative impact on your business. However, if the bulk of your customer base is pleased with the level of service you provide, that feedback can go a long way toward convincing others to consider your facility for their needs.
Think about the way you make buying decisions. Often, even for the smallest purchase, it is hard to separate your emotions when making the decision. Most buying decisions people make are based on emotions. The consumer may do some research, but often times the feelings behind the decision outweigh the facts. Now think about the emotions involved in deciding to send your parent or grandparent to a nursing home…and how feedback from others who have been in that same position may affect your viewpoint.
That’s why, in order to take advantage of the trends in American, you need to make sure you are promoting your positive reputation online for all to see!
Click here to read some more statistics about the impact of reviews on the decision-making process.
Barqar Can Help!
We can manage & automate your review gathering process…enabling your facility to improve it’s search ranking online while focusing on the positive impact you’re having on your residents and their families! Contact us today!