Monday, March 26, 2012

The Family Caregiver

I have been preaching for many years the one most important contact a DME/HME dealer has is the family caregiver. Most senior citizens want to stay in their homes and maintain privacy. They do not wish to move in with their children. They also look aghast at most “senior citizen” and long or short term facilities.

So who really is the “family caregiver”?  It is a daughter or son, a grandchild, and often, a niece or a nephew. There is almost always a family member who will monitor Mom or Dad! The family caregiver will work very hard to see to it that they can find all the necessary comforts that are available. They do not want to see their parents institutionalized, nor do they wish to bring them into their own home.  They too, have a way of life and which must be protected.

As a DME/HME provider you have to recognize the role of the “family caregiver". Develop a new marketing plan, which will appeal to them. At the last Medtrade in Atlanta we spoke to several dealers about family caregivers and how to effectively work with them. Here is what I learned at the last Medtrade: prepare a list, by speaking with your customers, to determine who should be contacted on their behalf.

From this list you can then send regular, short e-mails, with ideas and thoughts about caring for the elderly. One dealer told us his company held an open house the last Saturday of the month. He invited RNs, PTs, MDs and vendor sales reps whose companies manufactured specialty comfort products to make presentations or set up exhibits. He told us the number of attendees increased each month.

The goodwill and new sales developed in this fashion meant new profits. Many of the exhibitors at Medtrade will provide you with tools to use in these programs. You will be very pleasantly surprised at the amount of material you can gather in a short time at Medtrade to make this an Open House a success.  Never forget the family caregiver.

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