Updated May 2022

Who is reading your healthcare content? Patients, certainly. But also the people caring for them. Caregivers — the children, spouses and loved ones providing care and support to patients — are a huge section of your audience. And one you may be ignoring if you’re not producing caregiver marketing. If “caregivers” haven’t been at the top of your mind (or your content), it’s time to welcome them in.

Why Caregivers Need to Be Part of Your Healthcare Marketing Strategy

Almost 53 million Americans are providing unpaid care to a family member or a friend, according to a 2020 survey by The National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and AARP. And that number will likely increase: Between 2015 and 2020, the number of caregivers in the U.S. skyrocketed by 9.5 million.

These caregivers are searching online for information and advice to help them support their loved ones. Include them in your target audience and identify specific strategies to reach them. Caregivers can have just as much influence as the family members they care for and are often the decision-makers for choosing hospitals, doctors and treatments.

Caregivers have just as much influence as the family members they care for. They're often the decision-makers for choosing hospitals, doctors & treatments. Click To Tweet

Use Caregiver Marketing to Target Aging Parents or Older Adults

1. Make it easy for caregivers to get information online

People caring for aging loved ones are more likely than the general population to search for health information online, including information about medical problems, treatments and drugs.

Marketers can engage with caregivers through a variety of online tools:

  • Social media: Feeling isolated and overwhelmed, many caregivers turn to social media for support. Connect with them by offering tips to solve common challenges or online discussions in condition-specific forums.
  • Caregiver blog: Caregivers often lack basic training in this new role. Offer essential knowledge and skills through expert blog posts on home safety, avoiding infection and medication management.
  • Apps: Help caregivers stay organized by providing an app that offers features they could use, including shareable task lists, a calendar to track appointments, a daily treatment schedule and medication reminders. Consider these 10 must-have functions of hospital-branded apps.
  • Personal health records: Offer tools to help caregivers set up, access and maintain their loved one’s health records.
  • Secure patient-physician communication: Make it easy for caregivers to communicate directly with doctors and staff, request prescription refills or ask questions.

2. Offer support with resources outside of your healthcare organization

From grocery shopping to performing complex nursing tasks, caregivers are responsible for many aspects of their loved ones’ lives. Caregivers help their loved ones survive in various life areas, known as “activities of daily living” (ADLs). ADLs include maintaining personal hygiene, getting dressed, eating and using the bathroom.

Introduce caregivers to hospital social workers who can connect them with community services, including:

  • Transportation to and from appointments
  • Grocery or meal delivery
  • In-home nursing care
  • Organizations dedicated to assisting people with specific illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s disease or stroke

3. Help caregivers prevent or manage caregiver burnout

When caregivers feel stretched thin, they may experience caregiver burnout, a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion. Create content about burnout on your website or a caregiver blog. And consider offering additional resources, such as:

  • Support groups
  • Meetings with social workers, therapists or clergy staff
  • Respite care to provide temporary breaks for overwhelmed caregivers

How to Write Caregiver Marketing Content

Successfully reaching and engaging caregivers is integral to delivering high-quality, patient-centered care.

4. Amp up the empathy

Healthcare marketers always write with empathy to a patient audience. Extend that same supportive tone to caregivers who may be experiencing caregiver burnout and financial strain.

Caregivers may be stressed and overwhelmed by their responsibilities. But most likely, they are also grieving or saddened by the decline of an aging parent or loved one. According to the AARP study, 89% of caregivers are related to the individual they care for.

5. Be inclusive

It’s common for wives and daughters to participate in their loved one’s medical care, but a growing number of men are joining them. In the AARP 2020 survey, 39% of caregivers were men. Plus, 9% of caregivers in the U.S. identify as LGBTQ.

Be inclusive with your caregiver #marketing. 9% of caregivers in the U.S. identify as LGBTQ. Click To Tweet

6. Be upfront about finances

Many caregivers feel financial strain, so keep finances, cost and payment information clear and accurate. Help caregivers feel empowered about managing healthcare costs:

  • Offer pricing tools: Put a price-checker tool on your website to give caregivers clear cost estimates based on insurance.
  • Consider a cost-estimator support line: Caregivers can call to get accurate information to help make financial care decisions.
  • Direct caregivers to financial resources: Ensure pricing information includes links, a phone number or an email to a financial services office where caregivers can ask questions, learn about payment plans and weigh their options.

When healthcare marketers include a caregiver persona in their marketing strategy, it’s easy to see how some healthcare content leaves caregivers wanting more. Take steps to ensure your content and organization help fulfill those needs so families remain loyal to the healthcare system that’s supported them.

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