With spring and the promise that fruit blossoms bring, I am reminded of the importance of hope in the marketing of hospice and palliative care. Certainly we focus on comfort. But if I see one more well-intended photo of a frail hand being gently held by a young robust hand—unless you are literally talking about the last few days—I think you’ve lost the battle.
Physicians and late referrals
Many physicians acknowledge that a key barrier to earlier referral to hospice is a concern that they do not want their patients to lose hope. It’s time to do some educating and reframing.
If we associate hope with a long, bright, and indefinite future, then one can see why hospice has been
equated with “hopeless.” On the other hand, if we shift the definition of hope to striving for achievable goals and waking up each morning with something to look forward to, then hope is readily available and hospice is the expert at delivering it. For doesn’t that sound like quality of life? And quality of life is our North Star
How to align hospice with hope?
I have 90 clients around the country and I’ve looked at countless websites and campaigns. I’ve seen all kinds of strategies. Many quite imaginative.
Launch a campaign about “hope”
- “Embracing hope for 35 years“: A campaign of 35 stories celebrating the 35th anniversary of Hospice and Palliative CareCenter.
- The Hospice Hope Run: Hospice and Palliative CareCenter fully embraces hope. In fact, they’ve been embracing it for more than two decades! This April 29th saw the 21st annual 10K Hospice Hope Run, when families and teams honor a loved one and support hospice through increased awareness and donations.
Put “hope” in your name
If you are just starting out with a new hospice, here’s a golden opportunity!
- Hospice of Hope
- Hope West
- The Center for Hope
Write articles about “hope”
- Iowa City Hospice: In their e-library for family caregivers, they offer insights about hope and serious illness. We created this content marketing resource for hospices so they could address family and physician concerns head on and affirm that hospice is truly about living fully now. Note the tagline in their logo: “Adding life to each day.” Also a message of hope!
Use photos that represent quality of life
The frail hand being endearingly held by the robust young hand is certainly evocative of comfort. But no one really wants to imagine themselves in that frail hand position quite yet. It’s okay for when you are literally talking about the last few days of life. But before that, people need to see that you view the patient as more than the disease and his or her demise. That there’s a whole person there. That times of joy and contentment, family and connection are still available to them, and that’s what you bring. Look for happy images and loving photos. That’s the sizzle in the hospice marketing message.
Use the NHPCO Moments of Life videos
The very first video in this series talks about the ways in which hospice adds life to days. Unlike the other videos, it is a collage and does not mention any one particular hospice. It’s an excellent introduction to counteract the image that hospice is all about heavy doses of morphine and hospital beds in the living room.
Create your own hopeful video
It does not need to be high end. I have to say, one of my favorites is on the About Us page of Pikes Peak Hospice and Palliative Care. They totally nail it.
Pikes Peak Hospice and Palliative Care: Where hope lives—pass it on. The message?
We offer a different kind of healing. The kind that comes from Hope.
- That your days can be lived in comfort and peace.
- That you’ll be cared for with expertise, dignity, and respect.
- That your feelings will be understood and your wishes honored.
- That your loved ones will be supported and strengthened.
- That your life will be seen as the unique and exceptional journey it most assuredly is.
- That your path will be meaningful and gentle.
- That you will find care and support with every step you choose and people who are honored to walk with you.
If you are looking for fresh hospice marketing ideas, consider content marketing campaigns. We have many resources to help. Contact me at 707-477-0700 (Pacific time) or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.