Current Marketing Practices in the Nursing Home Sector

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Abstract

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Marketing is widely recognized as an essential business function across all industries, including healthcare. While many long-term care facilities adopted basic healthcare marketing practices and hired marketing staff by the early 1990s, a paucity of research on nursing home marketing exists in the literature. This study examines the extent to which nursing homes have developed more formulated marketing and related communication and promotional strategies as market competition has increased in this sector during the past two decades. In addition, we explored managers' perceptions of their control over marketing decision making, the impact of competition on the use of marketing practices, and areas for enhanced competitive positioning.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Administrators from 230 nursing homes in 18 Southeastern Michigan counties were surveyed regarding (1) the adoption level of approximately 40 literature-based, best-practice marketing strategies; (2) the types of staff involved with the marketing function; and (3) their perception of their level of control over marketing functions and of local competition.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Results from 101 (44 percent) survey participants revealed that although respondents viewed their markets as highly competitive, their marketing practices remained focused on traditional and relatively constrained practices. In relation to the importance of customer relationship management, the majority of the administrators reported intensive efforts being focused on residents and their families, referrers, and staff, with minimal efforts being extended to insurers and other types of payers. A significant positive relation was found between the intensity of marketing initiatives and the size of the facility (number of beds), whereas significant negative correlations were revealed in relation to occupancy and the perceived level of control over the function.

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