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Collateral materials for marketing subacute.

Subacute care has received much media exposure recently. Professionals and consumers are learning more about this level of health care through television, radio, newsletters and magazines. In addition, financial organizations are generating research reports containing data about large publicly traded health care companies providing subacute care or products and services to the subacute care industry.

What with all of this information circulating about, the question arises, how can you differentiate and promote your subacute product? Or, in keeping with the theme of this issue of Nursing Homes, how do you burnish your image?

Freestanding skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) have historically limited their marketing activities to hospital discharge planners and to those social workers who were responsible for placing an elderly resident. There was little need for collateral materials on subacute care programs, such as brochures and product-specific information. Times are a-changing. The advent of managed care participation in subacute care, along with the prolific development of skilled nursing facility-based subacute care programs, have created an ever increasing amount of competition for subacute patients. Collateral information aimed at referral sources is key to spreading your word.

Collateral information can take various forms: brochures, fact sheets, videos, speciality items, etc. However, the most important piece of collateral material in this field is the brochure. The brochure may be the primary or the only tangible piece of information that is received by the would-be customer.

If your facility/subacute care program has never developed a brochure, it may be in your best interests to consult an experienced health care public relations firm. After all, you do not get a second chance to make a first impression. The brochure should address a variety of important points, including the mission and philosophy of the organization. Mission statements allow the provider to succinctly summarize its reason for being. The philosophy statement is an expansion of the mission statement and may incorporate a broader spectrum of ideas associated with the facility as a whole and/or the parent company. Mission and philosophy statements are the "whys" of the brochure, and comprise the provider's personal introduction.

The body of the brochure discusses the specific attributes of your subacute program, e.g., the categories of patients that are appropriate to the program, the services available, the strengths and experience of your staff, and how your program is organized. In clear, easily-grasped style, this segment of the brochure explains the "what" and the "who" of your subacute program.

Next should be a type of referral roadmap that diagrams the process in a user-friendly manner. The reader should be given criteria that delineate patient appropriateness and information about how to access the facility/program. This can include the contact person and step-by-step referral instructions. This segment of the brochure encompasses "when" and "how" to utilize your services.

Another obviously crucial part of the brochure includes the program's address, phone and fax number, hours of operation and referral acceptance, and the name of a contact person. This, of course, is the "where," and this vital information is often repeated in different places throughout the brochure.

Though these are the essentials, there are other areas that should be given consideration as well. For example, should the brochure be designed with photos or graphics? What is your selection of colors, print, type of paper stock, size and volume?. All of this expresses your style, although the selection is often limited due to finances.

A facility/program brochure can be produced inexpensively and yet be limited only by your imagination. The most important objective is to meet the needs of your target audience. Once that has been carefully identified, communicate!
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Copyright 1994, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Subacute Consult
Author:Hyatt, Laura
Publication:Nursing Homes
Article Type:Column
Date:Nov 1, 1994
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