Illinois-based Hospice of the Kankakee Valley has rebranded as UpliftedCare, continuing a nationwide trend of providers updating their public image to reflect a more diversified suite of services.
The newly christened UpliftedCare typically has an average daily census of 180 patients, though the organization has seen a slight dip due to restricted nursing home access during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rebranding also helps providers shed the stigma that is often associated with the word “hospice.” Uplifted hopes that removing “hospice” from their name will help them connect with patients further upstream in the course of their illnesses.
“We know that there’s resistance to people accepting the idea and the word ‘hospice.’ And we know that in our hospice, approximately 40% of all patients who are admitted die within seven days,” said UpliftedCare Executive Director Connie Lemon. “Patients are dying on hospice, but they’re not on for very long. So it’s really limiting their access to all the care that they could be receiving. Removing any psychological barriers we can will help with acceptance. We think it will be a little less scary if patients don’t have to hear the hospice word every single day of care.”
The company worked with the North Carolina-based marketing firm the Anoroc Agency, which specializes in hospice rebranding. Anecdotal evidence indicates that providers who update their brand to remove the term “hospice” tend to see an increase in patient census, according to Lemon.
Like many providers, Hospice of the Kankakee Valley had launched service lines beyond their initial hospice mission, including palliative care, community-wide bereavement care and a volunteer-led initiative called Transitions that provides pre-hospice support for as long as 24 months. The UpliftedCare moniker is expected to better reflect the full range of their services.
Uplifted has 80% market share in its multi-county service area, which sees nearly 78% hospice utilization among Medicare descendants, Lemon told Hospice News. The national average for utilization is slightly higher than 50%, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
The company considered postponing the rebrand as it contends with the impact of the pandemic, but ultimately decided that the time was right nevertheless.
“Our final, kind of striking, answer was that it’s all the more reason to do it right now because people are suffering through COVID. People are having complicated grief through COVID, with many families not being able to be with their loved one when they’re dying if they’re in a facility or in the hospital, with families not being able to do traditional funerals,” Lemon said. “We know our services are even more important right now. We thought it was so timely that the name go forward as quickly as possible to give that feeling of confidence that when you choose our services it’ll be helpful to you.”