Information technology can bolster efficiency, drive profit margins and enhance staff satisfaction in an industry rampant with issues of employee turnover.
But IT has another unique capability, one that is not as often recognized. When utilized properly and with intelligence and forethought, IT can impact resident retention. As a hallmark of a successful senior housing operation, resident retention is the goal of most operators, and every tool that can give them an edge merits close examination.
So, how is it that the tools of IT can help to drive resident retention? Consider these possibilities.
1. Rising Expectations
Among Seniors Today’s resident population is being supported and encouraged by its sons and daughters – Baby Boomers who have grown into adulthood with a high expectation of their IT environment. Smartphones, tablets and an increasing Internet of Things are part of their daily lives, and they expect the same for their parents. If these adult children are highly dissatisfied with a residence’s IT offerings, retention may be imperiled.
2. Staff Satisfaction
Without contemporary IT tools for managing their daily workflow, staff may be easily frustrated, thus driving much of the turnover rate we see across the industry. Without a stable staff upon which to rely, residents (and their adult children) may feel frustrated and insecure. Staff members need the tools that will make them as efficient and effective as possible in their daily work. When they have these tools, residents are more likely to remain in place over the long term.
3. Continued Wellness.
Residents whose frailty increases through illness or injury typically will escalate to residences with higher levels of care, leaving senior housing operators with vacancies to fill. For example, falls are a major cause of debilitating injury. As such, retention is enhanced by technologies that help to prevent falls. Take for instance today’s sensor-driven, passive monitoring systems, which are designed to conduct automated fall risk assessments. Such systems may calculate the likelihood of an imminent fall and warn caregivers to take preventive action. Cutting-edge artificial intelligence software tracks behaviors and builds patterns of recognition, helping to keep staff engaged in residents’ ongoing conditions, thus ensuring residents safety and ultimately helping to ensure higher retention rates.
These are a few of the current technologies that can help drive retention – but this is just the beginning. Advanced communications portals for example can deliver the connectivity that staves off depression, while an evolving “internet of caring” can generate a digital safety net to ensure seniors stay active, healthy and engaged in their communities.
With such technologies, senior housing operators are in a better position than ever to positively impact resident retention.