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Your Hospital Brand and the Care-Giving Conundrum

With many Americans living longer lives, the issue of costly long-term care for loved ones is real and more daunting than ever. You would suspect that the majority of the responsibility falls to the Boomers and you would be correct. However, a formidable percentage of Millennials has had to step up, too. In fact, over 25% of those providing care for their parents are between 18 and 34 years old, according to the AARP Policy Institute. With over 40 million of Americans claiming to be caregivers in 2013, the likelihood for additional Millennials playing this role moving forward is a given.

Typically, these caregivers are on average women in their late 40’s and the cumulative money spent was estimated at $470 billion in 2013. Almost 90% of the caregivers perform medical tasks like managing meds or taking care of wounds, afflictions or post-surgery recovery. What’s very concerning is that a significant number of these folks are not medically qualified.

This is a problem that requires attention and soon. There are three primary areas that are being explored in the government sector to ease the burden moving forward. Your brand can demonstrate leadership in these areas as well:

1. Ease Financial Burden:

 Government Action­–­Several bills to be passed in Congress will help reduce the financial burden.  Programs like offering Social Security credits to those who had to stop working to provide care.

Health Care Brand Opportunity–Make sure your patient’s caregivers can easily find the financial resources and support you have available, and that your communications provide reassurances of your commitment to partner with them during a stressful time.

2. Better Training:

Government Action­–­States are considering legislation to help hospitals better communicate with and train an older person’s caregiver, especially after hospitalization.

Health Care Brand Opportunity–Get ahead of the curve by evaluating your key discharge materials to make sure the content is clearly understandable. Enhance in-hospital training with resources online or in mobile apps available on demand, so that caregivers never feel left to fend for themselves.

3. Reimbursements:

Government Action­–­Tax credits are also being considered to help caregivers – which would pay back some of the costs they incur personally.

Health Care Brand Opportunity–Make sure to have an easily accessible section of your site that keeps caregivers up-to-date on the latest information that can provide them relief in support during this time of need. Provide a “newsroom” for updates and allow for opt-in push notifications so that they can focus on the work of care-giving and not worry about the latest legislation.

There is much at stake with caregivers, their loved ones and the health care community to be sorted out. How we handle this challenge will have consequences within the evolving landscape of population health and key implications for your brand. This is the time for your health care organizations to take leadership roles to ease patient burden, increase population health and build brand trust and loyalty. How is your organization equipped to help address this with your patient prospects and caregivers within your communities? We’d love to hear from you.

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