This Isn’t Your Grandma’s Long-Term Care
Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Posted by: LeadingAge Indiana
Improved operational efficiencies in senior care starts with more efficient communication and engagement between providers, residents, and resident families. Without the proper methods of engagement and channels of communication, care facilities can suffer from staffing issues, low retention rates, and dissatisfied customers.
Preparing for the Silver Tsunami
The silver tsunami is a metaphor used to describe population aging. As baby boomers reach their senior years and as longevity increases, there will be a rise of seniors in the United States. By 2030, one in five Americans is projected to be 65 years or older. With an estimated 52 percent of the U.S. population needing some type of long-term care services in their lifetimes, the industry is bracing for an expected increase in the senior population.
This new wave brings new challenges. The long-term care industry needs to adapt to ensure that operations run smoothly as we move towards an influx in seniors that need care. While facilities are heavily tailored to the Baby Boomer generation, which isn’t made up of digital natives, there’s a crucial need to update and offer new capabilities that suit the changing needs and demands of this generation.
A Period of Transition for LTC
Long-term care operators are faced with a myriad of challenges. For example, changing regulations, such as Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM), is pushing the industry towards a transitional period in the coming months. During this time of drastic change, providers need firm plans in place to effectively capture reimbursements and continue to push for a patient-centric care plan.
Another issue in long-term care is staffing. There are constant challenges with finding RNs and LPRNs to employ and then retaining nurses once they’re employees of the facility. Costs associated with staffing also pose challenges – there are huge overtime costs and turn over costs associated with the staffing issue.
Communication is Key
With an overwhelming amount of changes in the industry, long-term care operators need a viable way to handle the consequential challenges without disrupting their organization. Better and efficient communication between nurses/clinical staff and resident family members is the key. A study published in the BMJ has shown a 39 percent reduction in harms when there is improved communication between nurses and families.
The need for improved methods of communication is due to the widening gap in current long-term care communication models. Older models, which are present at the majority of current long-term care facilities, are limited to cumbersome and inefficient methods of engaging with resident’s family members. Completely out of touch from our digital age, many facilities rely on phone calls, email, snail-mail, and even fax machines!
New models are better equipped to keep up with evolving technology and the demand for quick, easily accessible communication methods. Most, if not all of family members, are accustomed to communicating through modern means of communication, which are convenient and in real-time. Resident family members want relevant, convenient, and timely information through the devices they are constantly connected to. Texting, chat assistance, and other means of digital messaging provide a seamless communication experience for both facility staff and resident families.
More efficient communication will help facilities tackle these challenges head-on. Updated communication channels can mitigate risk. When resident families are being consistently kept in the loop and informed on their loved one’s care, there’s a reduced amount of alleged complaints, less CMS audits and surveys, and a smaller chance of lawsuits and litigation.
Integrated Care Communications
SafeKeeping is an integrated care communication platform that efficiently connects residents, families, and care providers in real-time. Through their care dashboard and patient app, you can put more information into the hands of your nurses, giving them more time to focus on patient-centric health outcomes.
SafeKeeping conducted a study with a 123-bed facility in Indianapolis that showed proficient engagement and communication will reduce staff workloads, which also helps with the staffing issue. By utilizing the SafeKeeping platform, this facility was able to save time, money, and increase staff efficiency. The average time it costs nursing staff to interact with family members is 22.5 minutes. Once other communication options became available, an approximate 369 hours were saved for this care facility.
Doug Wilcox, Co-founder & CEO of SafeKeeping
About Doug Wilcox
Doug is the Co-Founder and CEO of SafeKeeping, an integrated care dashboard for long-term care providers that utilizes facilities' electronic medical record data to improve health outcomes for caregivers, family members, and residents. SafeKeeping provides solutions to operational inefficiencies at long-term care facilities and creates a direct line of communication between medical providers and resident's family members. The platform closes the gap in long-term care communications and is pushing the industry forward towards a more open and transparent method of engagement.