For senior housing community resident executives looking to the future, it makes sense to follow today’s unfolding trends. One of the most visible is the rise of care coordination services in senior living.
Care coordination refers to emerging efforts to share medical information and synchronize care among doctors, specialists, hospitals and other medical providers. Communities that can boast of such services may shine in the eyes of tomorrow’s residents, thanks to the many positive outcomes such programs can generate.
How will care coordination help attract future residents? Here are a few examples for resident executives to consider.
Increased senior living resident wellness
Researchers have found that care coordination among medical providers can improve clinical outcomes. In one study, for instance, adults under a coordinated care program experienced a 43 percent fewer days spent in the hospital and a 19 percent shorter average length of stay. As a result of such outcomes, the private sector expects the field to boom: A report from Frost and Sullivan says we can anticipate huge growth in the market for coordinated care software tools over the next five years. Future residents will be drawn by the promise of better wellness, and will expect their senior living community to be able to deliver.
As tomorrow’s residents look to their senior housing options, they’ll be thinking about the rapidly expanding medical field of pain management. Doctors have turned an eye toward alleviating pain, and they’re getting better at it every day.
Today, people are typically dissatisfied with their pain medicines and management. However, for many, care coordination may provide an answer. Why? Because pain is often the result of multiple conditions requiring complex treatments by multiple providers, and pain management can get lost in the mix when shuffling between care plans and offices. When potential residents see a vibrant care coordination program at their future senior community, they’ll know that their pain management will likely be organized at a higher level than has typically been the case.
In an era of instant and ubiquitous communication, tomorrow’s adult children likely will expect to have open channels of communication with their parents and with caregivers. That hasn’t always been the case, as doctors sometimes have seemed to operate behind a darkened screen, with patients and families treated to only occasional glimpses of information.
Coordinated care changes that paradigm. When information flows freely amongst providers, the door is opened to family members to join in the conversation as well. Typically, providers end up working in closer consultation with one another, with patients, and ultimately with families as well. That’s a powerful inducement for a senior housing community to be able to put on the table for potential residents to consider.
Multiple disease management
A common problem among seniors is difficulty in managing multiple disease states, especially when chronic health issues may trigger or coincide with other medical conditions. The complexity of senior health is often compounded by the failure of practitioners to compare notes; care coordination promises to help with this.
For example, one study found that diabetic patients in care coordination programs saw improved outcomes not just in their primary disease but also in related conditions such as hypoglycemia and kidney disease. Among seniors and their adult children, a housing facility that can promise better management of multiple conditions will be an attractive candidate among the various options available.
For senior housing operators, care coordination programs and the senior care technology to support them may be a valuable asset in the effort to win the attention – and business – of tomorrow’s residents.
Are you tracking advances in care coordination? Talking to providers about the roles they will play? It’s never too early to begin laying out your game plan and how you’ll implement and support care coordination at your senior living community.