Hey everybody, it’s Steve, “The Hurricane” here. And for today’s episode of “A Drink With The Hurricane”, we’re going to talk about why Assisted Living Communities are such a great referral source and how to get our foot in the door. So raise your glass and let’s toast to your success. Cheers!

This is “A Drink With The Hurricane”, the talk show discussing all things growing your home care business. This video is sponsored by Home Care Evolution where we help home care agencies adapt to changing circumstances, transform their business so that they can thrive for years to come.

Assisted Living Communities are among my favorite referral sources of them all. What I loved about going to Assisted Living Communities when I had my agency from 2005 to 2012, I loved the fact that my Assisted Livings were like my Power Partners. So I did a lot of work with my Assisted Living marketing reps to do things that would grow both my patient census, and the amount of residents that they have in their community.

But that doesn’t explain why our Assisted Living is such a good referral source. The reason why there’s such a good referral source for a private duty patient is real simple. At an Assisted Living Community, there’s only so much level of care that the Assisted Living can give to each resident before the patient is considered “no longer AL appropriate”. Or they no longer belong in an Assisted Living environment because the care that this patient needs is beyond what they can offer. So as a private duty agency owner, this is an opportunity for me to be able to provide one-on-one care so that this resident can stay in the Assisted Living.

Now, why would people pay money to an Assisted Living and to a Home Care Agency to remain there? Because you may think to yourself “that doesn’t make sense”. We have to realize most Assisted Living residents when they move into an Assisted Living, they don’t have their house anymore. So they sell their house, the house that they bought 40, 50 years ago and they paid $75-$100,000 for their house. And then they sold it three or four years ago for $400-$500,000. That $400-$500,000 is what they’re using to pay the Assisted Living year after year, after year, so that they can live there. So now that Assisted Living is their home. That’s how they afford Assisted Living. That’s how they have the resources to afford private pay services on top of it from the sale of their home.

So now you have a resident who’s lived in the Assisted Living for say, four years. That is their home. They don’t want to move somewhere else. They want to stay there. And so as a result, you come in, you bring the one-on-one care to allow them to stay there. The Assisted Living reduces the level of care to level one, which is the base rate. So instead of them paying maybe $8,000-$10,000 a month in Assisted Living, the rent goes down to maybe $5,000 or $6,000. And then you are providing care one-on-one which is another $5,000 or $6,000. And then now you’re still at the same $10,000, maybe $12,000 per month for this person to be able to remain in the comfort of their home, i.e., the Assisted Living.

It comes out to be almost dollar to dollar the same price as it would if the person were to move into a nursing home which is the next level of community-based care. So if it’s apples to apples, most people, 9 out of 10 when they’re faced with the, “You can’t stay here because mom is no longer AL appropriate”, would prefer to at the very least start with bringing on one-on-one care.

Another thing I love about Assisted Living communities is you have a Director of Nursing calling the shots. And so the Director of Nursing is the one who determines if this patient is AL appropriate or not. So when you get in tight with your Director of Nursing, she will then feel more confident in referring your company as an option to patients. Because that’s what it’s all about. It’s all about presenting options so that the patients and the patient’s family can make an educated decision to move forward with one of the options.

Here’s the circumstance: Your mother has declined. She’s no longer Assisted Living appropriate. Option one, you move mom into a nursing home or you find another Assisted Living for her to move into that will take her because of her limited capacity, she can’t stay here. She has to move. And you have a week to make the decision, right? It’s a short amount of time because it’s dangerous to stay here in your current state.

Option 2: We call in our partner home care company, that’s you, and they bring in a caregiver X amount of days, Y amount of hours per shift so that mom can remain here safe and sound. Notice the amount of time, days and hours per shift that is recommended. It is recommended by the Director of Nursing saying, “In order for your mother to stay here, she has to have this amount of care.” So it’s not how much care does mom need? What are we going to do, we’re relying on someone else. We’re going to figure out, well, we just want somebody to come in for a couple of hours. No. You have a Director of Nursing that says this is how much care is needed to remain here safely. Get the care or unfortunately, you have to move somewhere else. And this is for the benefit of the resident. For the benefit of that patient. Staying here without the extra help is detrimental to their health. This happens all the time which is why I love Assisted Livings.

So now a couple of quick tips on how to get into your Assisted Livings. The first one may come as a surprise to you, but it’s referring back and forth. There is no greater way to get into any referral source than to make a referral to that referral source. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of Home Care Agencies out there that actually offer placement services as well. So families will call the agency. They will either provide home care or help them find an Assisted Living. So if you happen to be one of those agencies, my goodness, you have such a golden opportunity! You make a referral to an Assisted Living, they’re going to be paying you for the referral because you move the resident in, and you now have a reason to get in and work with them. 

Imagine you move in over a patient today. And three years from now that same patient starts to decline and then they need additional help. And then that Director of Nursing refers you back and you bring a caregiver in there. That’s amazing! You help the patient several times, and you made money at the same time, and you’re helping your Assisted Living. So making referrals to your Assisted Livings is one of the best ways to be able to get into an Assisted Living Community. 

The second way to get in there is the same as just about every other referral source, and that is through collaborations. I have an entire program, it’s called The Hurricane University, in which I have trained thousands of home care business owners and marketing representatives all around the world. We have literally trained people in four other continents outside of North America and in all the countries in North America on these training techniques and strategies.

Collaborations are universally accepted. You get in with the marketing representative at the Assisted Living. The Assisted Living is a beautiful community! They want to show their building off. The downside for the marketing rep at the Assisted Living Community though is they have a hard time getting out of the building because they have so many responsibilities on site. You as the home care marketing rep, you as the home care business owner, you are going to other communities including Skilled Nursing facilities and NLTCS and hospitals and home health and hospice agencies. All of which refer you and refer Assisted Living. 

So you collaborating with them and helping them get the word out about the event, and co-sponsoring it, and sharing in the cost, and sharing in the planning, and sharing in the advertising, and the promotion of that event, and the execution of that event, is a team up. You can easily do this once a quarter. It is effective marketing time. And not only is it going to help you to get new referral sources, it’s going to help you to collaborate and get yourself established in the community that you’re trying to develop which is the whole purpose of this video. So that is the second way to get referrals and get into your Assisted Living communities. 

The third one is a quick recap of what I said at the very beginning. And that is giving them the option to allow their residents to stay. In the example that I talked about with the Director of Nursing, presenting an option to the patients. What happens when the patient chooses to move to another community or chooses to move to a skilled nursing facility? They lost that resident.

And how do I know this? Because when I first started my company, Hurricane Marketing Enterprises, Home Care Evolution, right? When I first started this company in 2012, I went down to work on site at an Assisted Living that added a private duty home care. And when I sat down with the Admissions Director in that Assisted Living Community, there was a tension between the Admissions Department and the Director of Nursing. And the tension was the Admissions Department, Marketing, is trying to bring residents in, and I looked at their census for the previous 12 months and I saw that every time they had patients moving in, they also had patients moving out because they were no longer AL appropriate. Because the Director of Nursing was referring these patients out. So it’s a defeating prophecy, basically, for me to keep bringing people in and they’re moving out as fast as they’re moving in.

But by having the option of “you can stay here with this”, that slows the funnel of people leaving out the door. So if they move in three residents in one month, but only one moves out, they’re now plus two for the month. The next month they move in four residents and they only have two move out because of you. You are slowing their attrition rate which means you’re helping them grow their census, and not only are you helping them grow it, eventually they will reach maximum occupancy, which means they have no more vacancy, which means you can literally help them reach maximum occupancy and eventually create a waiting list to get into that community! That is where they are maximizing their bonuses. That is where they are maximizing their profits and they will love you for it. And they will make sure that you are the option of choice every single time there’s a patient that is no longer AL appropriate.

So yes, I’m re-explaining what I said at the very beginning, but now I’m giving you the conversation point that you need to have with your administrators, with your Directors of Nursings, and with that Admissions Marketing person at all of your Assisted Living communities. And that, my friends, will get you in the door at these communities!

Now, if you like this resource and you want more resources, you need to check out this magazine, Home Care Evolution Quarterly. It’s our magazine, it’s free for you! You can buy the physical copies that I’m holding, but you can get it for free digitally right now by going to my website, homecareevolution.com/magazine where you know I’m going to give you everything you need to “Blow Away The Competition!”