The hospice care market is enjoying sustained growth as both demographic and pandemic pressures combine to create a larger potential client base — one that’s focused on the holistic quality of care, rather than simply its affordability.1 And while this offers a substantive opportunity for hospice providers, it also comes with a challenge: Increasing competition in the marketplace means companies must do more to stand out from the crowd.
In turn, better marketing means a better bottom line. Here are four tips to help hospices generate business and drive referrals.
1) Know Your Market
More than 10,000 people in the United States become eligible for Medicare every day, with the trend likely to continue until at least 2029.2 This creates a massive market opportunity for hospice care if providers can capture the attention of patients and their families.
The first step? Understanding the competition. Hospice providers can start by searching popular hospice keywords — such as “hospice care,” “patient-centered care” or “death doula providers” and see which companies earn top spots. Hospices can look at their websites, check out their offerings and read their reviews. The more you know, the better you’re able to craft an effective hospice marketing strategy to capture patient interest.
2) Create Compelling Hospice Content
Hospice care has evolved from making end-of-life less painful to enabling transitions that prioritize the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of patients until the very end. Dame Cicely Saunders, the founder of the first modern hospice, puts it simply: “You matter because of who you are. You matter to the last moment of your life, and we will do all we can, not only to help you die peacefully but also to live until you die.”3
Patients and their families are now looking for facilities that take a holistic, patient-centered approach to care and their first point of contact is often a hospice’s website or social media profile. As a result, it’s critical to create compelling content on website blogs, in social media posts, and even press releases that focus on how hospice care can help patients make the most of the time they have left. As so, this also encourages prospective clients to learn more about hospice services.
3) Make Social Connections
It’s also critical to make social connections that boost the brand profile and help reach more patients. At a national level, hospices are encouraged to consider joining reputable organizations such as the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) or the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC). Membership can offer an official listing in their respective directories to help drive referrals.4
Locally, it’s worth connecting with other organizations in the healthcare community such as social work agencies, counseling providers and therapist practices. Earning their trust can create an ongoing source of patient referrals.
4) Pinpoint Improvement Potential
There’s always room for improvement. The challenge? Knowing where to focus your efforts. Hospices can start with options such as the NHPCO’s Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement (QAPI) hospice framework, which is designed to help both staff and patients identify opportunities for beneficial change.5 It’s also worth accessing the Pepper Hospice report (registration required) to pinpoint areas of improvement for billing and claims submission.6 In addition, best-of-breed hospice software systems can help a hospice organization better track, analyze and apply healthcare data at scale to boost operational efficiency.
5 Ways to Support Family Caregivers of Hospice Patients
1 Hospice News, “Hospice Expected to Grow in 2020, Increase Focus on Social Determinants,” January 23, 2020.
2 Medpac, “The Next Generation of Medicare Beneficiaries,” June 2015.
3 Cancer.org, “What is Hospice Care?”, May 10, 2019.
4 Chron, “Marketing Ideas for Hospices,” 2020.
5 CMS, “QAPI Written Plan How-To Guide,” November 2016.
6 Pepper, “Pepper Resources Portal,” 2021.