Even though senior living communities can accept residents who are 55 and older, most community residents are in their 80s and beyond, with the younger residents in their 70s. In fact, the average age of an assisted living resident is 87 years old according to the Assisted Living Federation of America. AARP reports that 90 percent of Americans over 75 have at least one chronic condition, and over 20 percent have 5 or more. So how do you meet the health care needs of older residents with higher acuity within the confines of your senior living license?
You need to have a strategy and plan to address their needs and make sure that aging in place means aging with dignity and well-being for each and every resident.
Part of this strategy is to understand the potential of partnerships in the care continuum. As senior living providers, you need to look toward skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, therapy companies, and hospice and palliative care agencies to provide services for your residents when their health requires it.
How can other care providers help your residents? We have seen healthy partnerships where:
- Skilled nursing facilities: Provide a resource for your residents when they have an acute health incident and need extra care through a sub-acute stay and provide a referral source from their sub-acute residents who cannot return home.
- Home health agencies: They provide a skilled license that allows for care within the home of your residents where they can attend to a variety of their care needs without the stress of a temporary move and provide a referral source for their clients who are declining and no longer able to stay in their single family home environments.
- Therapy companies: They can provide licensed therapy but many are also now offering well-being and pre-acute programs that can maintain the health and well-being of your residents, utilizing facilities such as gyms that already exist in many senior living communities.
- Hospice and palliative care agencies: They provide services that address the physical and spiritual needs of your residents and provide comfort during their treatment or for their end of life. They also provide relief for the families from care-giving so that they can spend valuable time with their loved ones.
Your strategy must include going beyond just signing-up a partner. Make sure you understand the quality measures attached to the different type of services and screen your partners to find the ones that will provide the care your residents deserve. Train your staff and management as well – make sure they understand what the different partners provide and how your residents may benefit from them.
With the right strategy and plan in place, you can provide health, well-being, dignity, and respect to your residents and the peace of mind to their loved ones.
Health Dimensions Group has the skills and expertise to help you with a strategic business plan and network development. For more information, contact us at 763.537.5700, email at email@example.com, or visit www.healthdimensionsgroup.com/services/strategy.
Authored by: Cindy Olson, VP, Consulting Business Development