Many Home Health Agency execs are changing their attitudes about the return on investment for advertising. Response rates and direct tracking are often tough for HHAs to determine, given that most referrals come not from the public but from physicians and discharge planners.
But ads can be a powerful way to generate brand identity and keep your home care agency in the public eye and on people’s minds when they ultimately need home nurse services. There’s a real value to having your message and image out there. The recognition reinforces the recommendations that come from doctors or discharge planners.
Many home care ads combine corporate image along with a recruiting message as many agencies are finding a constant need for physical and occupational therapists. Web sites and radio stations have recently become more popular as home health agencies go after a broader market and target those that don’t necessarily need nursing services immediately. The need for elderly care is not sensitive to economic downturns, so we are lucky to be able to keep pace with our advertising dollars.
Six months ago we were scrambling to hire experienced home nurses for our home care agency. Now we get from 5 to 15 inquiries a week as more and more Registered Nurses are hitting the pavement and seeking jobs as home care nurses, or other positions in home health care agencies. The surge can be attributed to several factors. Many retired nurses are going back to work as the economy has eaten into their retirement savings. Others are trying to make up the income of a spouse who may have lost a job. Ironically, the once recession proof medical community is being pinched by a downward trend in elective surgery which has resulted in employee layoffs.
The good news is that this abundance of nurses allows home health agencies to be more selective when it comes to hiring skilled nurses. Home health agencies are able to get better trained clinicians for elderly care which comprises the majority of their business. The new hires are better organized skilled nurses who have often had better management experience. Where we once were happy to get an RN with hospital experience, we now can hold out for nurses with home care experience who are better at assessing patients and working independently.
AT Home Care is gearing up for their 7th annual Limb Drive which will take place on Sunday, May 17th , in Norfolk. We are collecting prosthetic limbs and rehabilitation equipment to be used by amputees in developing countries. PFP, the international nonprofit, medical-education organization, created the Walking Free program with AT Home Care’s internationally renowned physical therapist, David A. Lawrence, in 2002, to provide the much needed equipment to clinics established in developing countries. The event takes place from 12:00 to 2:00 pm in the parking lot of the Norfolk Tides Baseball stadium, Harbor Park, off Union Street in Norfolk. Each person making a donation (limb, walker, etc., or money) will receive 2 complimentary tickets (while supply lasts) to the baseball game that afternoon.
Prosthetic limbs and orthotic devices will be collected from hospitals, physical therapists and amputees from all over the country. The prosthetics are then disassembled and sent to the Walking Free clinics in developing countries where PFP volunteers train local therapists and prosthetists in the latest techniques of amputee treatment.
This collection goes on throughout the year at locations around the country. For more information on how to donate, call AT Home Care’s main office at 866 497-4110.