January 4, 2022 | Lynn Schear
Worldwide, and especially in developed countries like the United States, people are living longer. As life expectancy grows, so does the industry tasked with caring for the elderly.
In 2020, the global home health care and residential nursing care services market was worth nearly $958 million. It's expected to grow to $1.27 billion in 2025, and more than $1.62 billion in 2030, according to Research and Markets' latest studies.
"Growth in the nursing care market in the historic period resulted from the rapid growth in the size of the elderly population, strong economic growth in emerging markets, changes in social patterns, and health insurance reforms,” the research group reports.
The nursing care facilities market is the largest segment of the home health care and residential nursing care services market. Going forward, it's expected to be the fastest–growing as well, with projected growth of 6.2% by 2025.
Some of residential care institutions' biggest contracts are with suppliers of personal protective equipment, meal services, wireless services, furniture, incontinence products and general office supplies.
However, the future presents challenges and inevitable change, a result of weaknesses revealed by disastrous spread of COVID–19 within long–term care facilities. America's nursing shortage is putting a strain on this sector as well. And a growing number of Americans are choosing to take care of relatives at home, with support from visiting nurses and other care providers.
How COVID–19 shifted the market
The pandemic saw a 27% decrease in initial tours from prospective senior living residents, according to Enquire, and that translated to a 22% decrease in move–ins. Although some seniors' families may have opted for in–home care, some simply postponed their decisions and will be making decisions soon.
Thanks to alarming news reports about coronavirus spread in assisted living, those decisions will be based more on safety protocols than in the past. Assisted living groups and nursing homes will be marketing themselves as safe havens from illness, and looking for the products and training to back that up.
That means a healthy stockpile of PPE including masks, gloves, gowns, face shields and respirators, alongside more advanced cleaning and testing. In particular, institutions are looking for technologically innovative infection control measures. This includes systems that produce powerful disinfectants on–site, as well as upgraded air filtration systems that are regularly maintained and cleaned. Some institutions are hiring outside firms to handle all sanitation, but many are looking for on–staff training as well.
Daily temperature testing for all staff is now the new standard, with some employees required to undergo weekly COVID–19 testing. Providers are also buying bulk test kits for residents as well. Care providers are looking for any and all opportunities to assure current residents and prospective families that safety is their top priority, so marketers should align their products to this mindset as well.
Helping communities appeal to seniors
Even as marketing and sales teams reach out to residential care and assisted living buyers, seniors are their secondary market – and seniors' decisions are strongly influenced by family members. It's key to understand what factors drive the selection of home care help or new living situations for this part of the population.
In addition to safety concerns, social and emotional well–being is at the top of many lists. Senior citizens fear losing their independence as they move into new residential or care situations, so products and services that provide extended mobility and daily decision–making for residents are desirable to both patients and institutions. Emphasize the integration of choice as a part of your service, whether it's helping seniors out with custom nutrition options or multiple social activities.
Because staffing shortages are affecting this industry, emphasize efficiency and how your product could help institutions streamline their daily operations. Ultimately, factors that somehow help to provide the best level of care for seniors and other residential care patients should be tied to every marketing push.
Don't be afraid to use a little emotion in your messaging. Residential care is a unique field that requires a lot of empathy from workers at all levels. It's important to make sure all your messaging is focused on senior care as a distinct model that requires a special level of commitment, from photography usage to making sure you're using current terminology.
Technology and the future
Innovation will be the key to continuing to improve care both in assisted living residences and at home. Wireless technology and monitoring are already helping humans take care of one another.
From smart thermostats to cost–effective fitness trackers that monitor vitals, nurses are using tech to manage and track the safety and activity of patients. Smartwatches and tablets are providing new levels of assurance for dementia patients. However, even as robots and artificial intelligence advance, they're still seen as a way to free up time for more meaningful human interaction, not as a replacement for it.
In "How to Get Outstanding: An Ultimate Guide for Care Homes,” author Issac Theophilos says artificial intelligence isn't taking the place of people any time soon. "AI could be a model to disrupt overreliance on the people–based system. I do not think machines could replace people in the frontline care. However, machines could supplement to support the frontline care staff. The shortage of frontline staff will remain a problem."
Using data to your advantage
Other factors that could give you a leg up: Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement eligibility, a flexible domestic supply chain, and the most current data possible. The unprecedented upheavals of the past two years created high levels of turnover at residential care facilities and companies providing in–home care, so data hygiene is more important than ever.
Choosing the right segment of the residential care industry is key to forming new partnerships. The MCH healthcare database lets your filter for institutions by type, letting you choose from home health, assisted living, nursing homes and other residential care facilities. Other factors include the level of care provided and the workers most likely to use your product, such as nurses, caretakers, administrators or residents, so you can tailor your messaging to appeal to both.
You can also narrow your data by an institution's medical specialty, depending on the nature of your product, and find contacts according to job functions, from housekeeping and infection prevention all the way to pharmacy and physical therapy directors.
Explore the MCH healthcare database anytime with our ListBuilder tool, or reach out for a consultation with one of our healthcare marketing experts.
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