A new year is on the horizon, which gives senior care executives the opportunity for a clean slate and the chance to take a look at the expense and revenue column in the budget. Operating costs can be big or small, but even cutting the small ones can make a substantial impact at year’s end. Senior care communities can lose money without an executive even noticing it until it is too late. Here are some strategies to control operating costs and stop unnecessary spending.
1. Close the backdoor
Operating costs for maintaining an empty apartment or room add up quickly. Even if rent is coming in to hold that apartment or room, there are still operating expenses that are being paid out. Senior care executives and clinicians should take a good look at what is driving residents out of the community. If it is falls or other unplanned hospital visits due to illnesses, it is wise to take a look at fall and illness prevention plans. Strengthening plans and protocol can put a major dent in falls and illnesses that send residents to the hospital. Simply adding technology can give staff a second set of eyes to notice when residents are exhibiting warning signs of falling or illness.
2. Eliminate unnecessary staff tasks
Overworked staff are more likely to miss early symptoms that may warn of an upcoming fall, illness, or other medical crisis. Further, staff members who are focused on paperwork and charting can miss out on building relationships with residents. These relationships will not only increase resident engagement and family trust, but will also increase staff satisfaction. However, with all of the paperwork that clinicians must complete, it can be impossible to make meaningful connections with residents. Give staff a break from tasks like fall assessments by adding a technology system that provides real-time assessment scores to staff. This way, staff is getting up to the minute information about residents, and they can concentrate on giving personal care instead of worrying if their assessment is done on time.
3. Eliminate ineffective networks
Communities that utilize IT networks are at risk for paying too much for too little support. Taking time to find an efficient and safe IT network that can handle everything from online charting to guest WiFi access, without slowing anyone down, is worth the effort. Staff members can do their job without frustration, and executives save money in IT support calls – all thanks to a well thought out IT network.
4. Investigate family engagement
Family relations is an important piece of the operating costs puzzle. Remember, if family members do not trust that the community, and the staff, will provide excellent care to their loved ones, you can not only lose revenue if that resident moves out, but also could be faced with a word of mouth crisis. In order to maintain a positive family relationship with those served, communities should consider keeping family members educated and informed about technology throughout the building. Family members will rest a bit easier knowing that technology is supplementing, and complementing, staff efforts with their loved one.
How do you assess your current operating costs? How have you used technology in your community to decrease operating costs in the short and long term?