With an estimated 66 million family caregivers in the US, now more than ever, as a healthcare marketer, you should include family caregivers in your target audience and identify specific strategies to reach them. Family caregivers can have just as much influence as the family members they care for, especially when it comes to choosing hospitals, doctors, and treatments.
In fact, four in ten adults are caring for an adult or child with significant health issues: These numbers will only grow as our population ages.
What You Need to Know About Reaching Family Caregivers
From grocery shopping to performing complex nursing tasks, family caregivers are responsible for many things for their loved ones. Family caregivers have many things in common. They:
- Embrace technology: Caregivers are more likely than the general population to search for health information online, including information about medical problems, treatments and drugs
- Feel stretched thin: In addition to caring for their loved one, more than half of family caregivers are employed full-time and more than 75% also have children under the age of 18 living with them
- Don’t consider themselves caregivers: Family caregivers tend not to identify themselves as such, meaning marketing aimed at “family caregivers” often misses its mark.
- Are not just wives and daughters: It’s common for wives and daughters to participate in their loved one’s medical care, but they’re also being joined in growing numbers by men, daughter-in-laws, siblings, friends, and neighbors.
How to Engage Family Caregivers
Successfully reaching and engaging family caregivers is not only good for the healthcare business, it’s becoming an integral part of delivering patient-centered care.
Now that you know about the behaviors, needs and interests of family caregivers, here’s how to engage them:
- Social media: Feeling isolated and overwhelmed, many family caregivers turn to social media for support. Connect with them by offering tips to solve common challenges or moderating online discussions in a condition-specific forum.
- Family caregiver blog: Family caregivers lack basic training in this new role. Help them gain important knowledge and skills through expert blog posts on topics such as home safety, avoiding infection, and medication management.
- Apps: Help family caregivers stay organized with a free app offering features such as shareable task lists, a calendar to track appointments, daily treatment schedule and medication reminders. Learn more about the The Do’s and Don’ts of Building a Branded Hospital App.
- Personal health records: Offer tools to help family caregivers set up, access and maintain their loved ones personal health record. If your PHR platform supports secure patient-physician communication, this is an excellent feature to promote.
Do you have any creative campaigns you’d like to share about involving caregivers?
Note: Right after we published this, we discovered a petition on change.org to track caregiver stress. See the petition, Track Family Caregiver Stress and Its Cause.