hospice care network

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Last 5 Years.

I worked on a branding assignment a number of years ago for Hospice Care Network. It was fascinating.  End of life is not something many younger people are familiar with.  One of the behavioral problems facing hospice providers is denial. Hospice care is best meted out 6 months before passing, yet most cases get to hospice 3 weeks before (anecdotal data.) Denial is what we’re facing today when it comes to dealing with the advanced aged.

End of life, especially form a gerontology perspective, is hidden. The elderly are cared for by family caregivers or in nursing homes. I believe there’s a massive business opportunity to develop technology applications to improve the lives of the elderly and I challenge marketers and technologists to think about it.

Let’s call app the Last 5 Years.  

Here’s what the app/device/rigor needs to accomplish. It need to encourage ambulation which, in turn, will help circulation. It needs to assist the aged with balance. It needs to work to delay cognitive loss. Pain management will be needed, as will home help and general entertainment.

How can we accomplish all of these things?  In chunks. One app/device probably won’t work.  (An exercise chair?)

One could argue these things are available in a nursing home. But the fact is, many “Last 5 Year” candidates don’t leave their rooms. They wait for meals between TV shows.   

Let’s tackle this. And let’s start now. Tweet me y9our ideas @spoppe.




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I read a lot about leadership and one word seems to pop up a great deal is passion.  Leaders want passion in their companies and hiring agents want it in their hires. Employees when asked about personal traits often play the passion card. It’s kind of an over-used word in my opinion.

In my business practice I use the word love a great deal, telling customers and prospects I must learn to love their product to be an effective advocate. But how does one love JPMorgan Chase? How does one love Hospice Care Network? Or PwC? It takes some doing.  

Passion and love may be allies yet they are really two different things. Don’t mix them up.

As a brand planner – someone who mines care-abouts and good-ats – I try to remove passion. It is the dispassionate planner who has the best ear. Removing passion for an idea or insight is not easy, especially if you hit it early on, but it’s a necessary.  Brand planners need to keep an open door policy throughout the gleaning process. Om. It keeps a clear heart while you flesh out and prioritize all the values you need to consider.

Selling can be passionate, planning must be the opposite.



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I’m not a euthanasia guy but having just revisiting a brief I wrote a while back for Hospice Care Network on end-of-life care, it brought back some thoughts on this sensitive topic. The highly publicized couple that went to Europe earlier this summer to end their lives also brought the subject to mind. Was their choice selfish? Yes and hell no. Cultures deal with death differently; more sophisticated cultures deal with death in what we think are more humane ways. I’m not so sure.


A NYT article today reported that 1/3 of all Medicare expenses go to funding chronic illnesses in the last two years life. My research suggests that prolonging death is often the choice of the family, not the dying. The dying comply because they think it’s what the family wants, but it often prolongs the patient’s emotional and physical pain. They lose control of their body and their will.


Conservatives can scare people with death panels (nice ploy, by the way) but the reality is families need to make end-of-life decisions…and the patient must be heard. Some of these decisions may have economic repercussions on family pocketbooks and the economy, but the real discussion should be about quality of life at the end. The discussion should not be ignored. Big peace!  (If you’d like to read the brief, hit me.)

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