Since 1980, swing bed revenue has been a mainstay source of revenue for many of America’s rural hospitals. If your hospital has an active swing bed program you know the positive impact it can have on patient care and your bottom line.
Unless you are fully utilizing your available beds, you need to be active about marketing post-acute care services to your community. Here are some strategies for your messaging.
Recovery close to home
Being able to recover from surgery close to home is the biggest selling point for consumers. Stress the idea you can be close to your family, making it fast and easy for them to visit. Use language like “your hometown”, or “your community” to connect feelings of home to your facility. You can talk about there being no need for a long journey to make other options sound less attractive.
People in your community may not understand that when recovering from surgery they may have to move to a separate nursing facility if they go to a larger urban hospital.
Example: At YOUR HOSPITAL recovery is a seamless process where you don’t have to move after surgery. You can receive all the support you need from the same staff that first cared for you. Your doctor and the whole nursing staff are close at hand ensuring the best recovery possible for you.
You can further bolster this message by citing research that patients who recover at the hospital rather than a nursing facility have lower rates of readmission and shorter recovery stays. You can find one such study here and another here.
Getting YOUR patients back!
Often your local medical provider, or Emergency Department, will refer a patient to a specialist in a big city hospital and they end up providing the care …and placing your patient in the urban city hospital swing bed program. Not only do you lose the revenues but the family has to travel the distance each day to see them.
Building relationships is key to getting your patients back home and in your swing bed program
Get to know the discharge planners and the specialist in the larger communities. Make sure they know the services your hospital provides–and that you want your patients to return for local care.
Promote your nursing staff
Promoting your recovery care services is a great opportunity to highlight your nursing staff. Feature quotes from your nurses about the benefits of recovering at the hospital. Let them be the caring voice that carries this message to your community. This will put a human face on your services and at the same time burnish their reputation.