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It has been said “that aging is a natural process, a journey we all must take – and it is the aging experience that makes the journey worthwhile.” This journey may include acute care, post-acute care services, and eventually senior independent living accommodations. The year 2030 is expected to be a unique demographic turning point in American history, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2030, all baby boomers will be at least 65 years of age – expanding the number of Americans who are of retirement age from 51.5 million to roughly 70 million, or one in five Americans.

Key Takeaways

  • How patients experience their care should be a top priority for C-level leaders
  • Patient satisfaction is the most important message in marketing
  • Failing to invest in the experience, may turn potential customers away

Momentous changes in healthcare and aging services are regularly highlighted. Fortunately, organizations have also evolved and continue to enhance not only their “marketing materials” but also their “accountability standards” to help patients, residents and potential new residents understand the complexities associated with their decisions. Although occupancy is critical to an organization’s short- and long-term sustainability, most organizations now recognize that the satisfaction of their patients and residents continues to be their most valuable marketing tool.

Clinical leaders AND nonclinical leaders are being asked to influence the patient perception. As many as 70% of healthcare organizations have a designated leader who oversees the patient experience. In acute care organizations, the chief nursing officer may also be the chief patient experience officer. Similarly, in post-acute care organizations, the chief marketing officer may also serve as the chief resident experience officer, whether an official title is designated or not.

The marketing representative not only tells the story of the organization, the facility, the potential independent living unit, and associated skilled and personal care services, but also becomes the tour guide, the party planner, the social coordinator, the move-in coordinator, the person who is on the phone dealing with the resident’s cable company, phone company and other service providers to help minimize or relieve the burden and potential trauma associated with a such move. No longer are they trying to sell the largest, most expensive unit or utilizing tactics designed to generate a quick sale.

Post-acute care organizations are creating new partnerships, home-based CCRCs, and at-home care and services, as well as sharing digital clinical healthcare records and expanding affordable housing to develop a complete network of interconnected living, services, and care options. Furthermore, they are partnering with acute care health systems to enhance the continuum of care and position themselves as a preferred provider or essential partner in evolving networks. Although consumers tend to recall positive experiences over negative ones, patients also share their experience with others regardless. And, because consumers say the recommendations they receive from families and friends are the most important factor in their decision making, how patients experience their care should be a top priority for C-level leaders. If an organization fails to invest in the patient or resident experience, it may lose potential customers to other organizations that can deliver what patients want, expect, and deserve. Regardless of title, patient experience leaders play extremely valuable roles, helping to ensure that other C-level leaders consider the patient experience as part of their organization’s growth strategy, capital investment and new construction planning, technology needs and staffing practices. Cain Brothers advises nonprofit and for-profit organizations in financing the development of acute care facilities, outpatient buildings, new independent living facilities, campus expansions, and conversions of outdated buildings to optimize service lines, and provides strategies and analyses in connection with mergers, affiliations, and partnerships to enhance community access through complementary post-acute services.

To gain a better perspective, our consultants and advisors put themselves in the shoes of their clients to understand the goals, objectives, financial position, and risk tolerance of each unique organization. It is rewarding to hear a client say “we made the right strategic decision” to move forward with an expansion or significant new development project. And it is equally comforting to hear a loved one say “I made the right decision” in choosing a new home. Many challenges – whether psychological, emotional, financial or even simply searching for companionship – exist in navigating life transitions. From both a professional and personal perspective, I have witnessed how acute and post-acute care organizations and volunteers enhance the lives of patients, residents, and family members to create beautiful moments that amplify the dignity of the journey.

To learn more, contact Cain Brothers Managing Director Don Persinski at donald.persinski@key.com or 412-807-2837.