And, What will You do For Me?

Denise

And, What will You do For Me?

Denise
About a month ago, I had a conference call with the marketing team of a large home care agency which has several hundred franchises throughout the United State. I contacted the company about referring family caregivers to Caregiving.com and specifically to our CarePASS program.

At the start of the conversation, I asked: What information and resources do you share with family caregivers when they hire you?

None, they said.

Would you refer them to CarePASS, I asked? I explained how it would work: During an in-home assessment with the family caregiver and the client, the agency employee shares the care plan for the caree (i.e., we'll have a home health aide come three times a week for four hours to help you with bathing, dressing and light housekeeping").

I suggested to the marketing team that the employee also shares an option with the family caregiver. The agency employee could tell the family caregiver, "And, we've got a care plan for you, too. Here's more information for you."

The cost to the home care agency is nothing, other than the cost to print out a flyer detailing how CarePASS works to share with the family caregiver.

The marketing team offered two responses:

Family caregivers don't self identify.

and

How much will you pay us to do this for you?

When I hung the phone after our discussion, I was furious. For two reasons:

1. Family caregivers don't self-identify. This is true, as ejourneys so eloquently wrote on Tuesday. Except in this situation, with the home care company, it's a mute point. The majority of requests they receive for their service, they told me, come from the adult child (aka, the family caregiver). It doesn't matter whether the adult child has identified him or herself as the family caregiver. They've identified a problem and they've called for help. Why not just help them? You--home care agency--have identified them as a family caregiver!

When telling the family caregiver about home care services, why not also say, "And, we've got help for you, too, because we know this is a stressful situation. We've partnered with Caregiving.com so you can receive the support and understanding you deserve." (You can read more about why it makes me crazy when agencies say "a family caregiver doesn't self-identify so it's hard to help them" here. You also can hear me rant about it on this recent segment of Your Caregiving Journey. Bottom line: It makes my blood boil when agencies and organizations say it's hard to reach family caregivers because they don't self-identify. This is an organization's marketing problem. To blame their inability to reach their customers on their customers is just plain lazy. Think of it this way: I didn't self-identify as a Diet Coke drinker until I drank a Diet Coke. Why did I drink a Diet Coke? Because I saw a commercial that made me want to drink a Diet Coke. Marketing.)

2. I don't want them to spend money to buy a CarePASS for each of their customers. (Although they could if they wanted.) I want them to offer a solution to a family caregiver so he or she doesn't feel alone or overwhelmed.

I want them to help their customer.

While the caree is the client, the adult child (the family caregiver) is the customer who makes the buying decision. Certainly, the home care agency offers a service (home care) which helps the family caregiver. But, their services aren't solving all of the family caregiver's problems. Why not tell family caregivers about resources which could help them manage a really stressful and overwhelming experience?

After our conversation ended, it occurred to me that you could ask a similar question of home care agencies (and, really, any provider you use) that they asked of me. In essence, when you hire a provider to care for your caree, you could ask: And, what will you do for me? You're the customer; it would be great if they offered a service which helps you.

As I explained to the marketing team of that large home care agency: When you take care of your customer (the family caregiver), your client stays home. And that's one of the ways you keep a client.

Next time you hire a provider, be sure to ask: And, what will you do for me? You're the customer. Expect them to take care of you. Because they should.


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