Just over one year ago, the first cases of COVID-19 were identified in the U.S. The U.S. has since lost more than 500,000 people to the virus, the majority being seniors. A disproportionate number of these deaths have occurred among those living in long-term care (LTC) and senior living communities, which have been hit the hardest by the virus.
With the success of COVID-19 vaccination—prioritized for senior living and LTC staff and residents—as well as subsequent decline in cases and deaths, it feels that the end of the pandemic is coming into view. This brings with it the joys of returning to visitation, communal dining and activities, and hopefully, new residents moving into senior living and LTC communities. Could this really be over?
Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cases of COVID-19 in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) have declined 89 percent since December 2020 and are at the lowest levels since it began tracking cases in March 2020. With multiple highly effective vaccines, rapid and accessible testing, and supply chains to support personal protective equipment (PPE) demands, we have moved light years ahead in the prevention, identification, and treatment of COVID-19. Providers feel confident in their abilities to control the virus moving forward.
However, with the combination of the end of stimulus funds, ongoing declines in consumer confidence, and staffing issues, the long-term financial impact of the pandemic has become much clearer. Financial sustainability is the new threat of the pandemic to LTC and senior living. The impact will be felt for years to come in lowered census, increased regulatory oversight, and staff challenges. If you are a senior care leader, you must acknowledge the realities of census decline and expense increases in order to sustainably guide your organization into the future.
As a national leader in health care management and consulting services, Health Dimensions Group (HDG) is uniquely positioned to assist providers with COVID-19 response and preparation for the future. For more information or to discuss options for providing care for your residents, please reach out to the team at HDG at firstname.lastname@example.org or 763.537.5700.
Authored by: Erin Shvetzoff Hennessey