Future of Competent Nursing Facilities: Challenges & Opportunities

Future of Competent Nursing Facilities

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 Skilled nursing facilities are staffed with trained nurses and provide a safe, secure, and home-like environment for patients recovering from illness or injury. As the need for skilled nursing care grows, more hospitals and local communities are establishing new nursing centers. As the market for professional nursing care services continues to grow, operators must understand how to best capitalize on this growth opportunity. To help you better understand the challenges and opportunities in this space, we’ve outlined several key takeaways.

What Key Challenges will Skilled Nursing Facilities face in the Next Few Years?

Skilled nursing facilities will continue to face many difficulties, such as operating on thin margins while facing down on private-pay population numbers, negative public perceptions, aging infrastructure, and staffing issues. Meanwhile, the quantity of skilled nursing residents is dropping by 1% annually. Because of new programs that allow Medicaid-funded care at home and in the community, inpatient skilled nursing care is used less. As a consequence, the elderly can go home and remain there. Hospital readmission penalties are looming in addition to all of that.

Aging Baby Boomers & the Rise in Seniors with Disabilities

The aging baby boomer population has increased the number of seniors with disabilities, placing them at an increased risk of needing skilled nursing care services. In addition, the recent opioid epidemic has caused a rise in seniors with drug dependency. It has caused an increase in rehab and rehabilitation services as seniors require assistance to address issues that limit their mobility, mobility assistance devices, and fall prevention services. Seniors with chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease often need special care services that skilled nursing facilities are usually best equipped to provide. It can range from assistance with activities of daily living (such as bathing and dressing) to monitoring and managing these diseases with medications and special diets.

Nursing Facilities Have to Deal with Patients with Higher Acuity Levels. What Difficulties Does this Pose?

It’s simple to turn down these patients, but hospitals must keep up with the Joneses by accepting these problematic cases. There are two sides to this sword. They must also be able to provide a greater variety of patient care by investing in additional staff, training, and infrastructure. It is a double-edged sword because they must accept these patients. Many nursing homes still have insufficient nurse staffing levels, which many studies show is a primary cause of hospitalization. One study discovered that improving nursing home quality of care and reducing resident hospitalizations by increasing nurse staffing is feasible. They found that nearly half of the hospitalizations were due to social-structural problems at the nursing home, not clinical problems. If nursing homes could administer IV therapy, 70% of hospitalized patients would be adequately treated. Nursing facilities can only fulfill their residents’ more complex healthcare demands with adequately trained staff.

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Competent Nursing Facilities: Quality Care & Rehabilitation

The core services provided by a competent nursing facility (CNF) include skilled nursing care (such as administering medications, dressing wounds, and providing rehabilitation), as well as assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, and eating. CNFs can also provide other healthcare services, like home medical equipment and physical therapy, and even services that aren’t medical-related, like transportation and dietary management. CNFs differ from other nursing facilities in that they are staffed with trained nurses qualified to provide more aggressive medical care. CNFs are also different from in-home care services, as they are designed to provide short-term care (generally less than a month) to patients who need some medical care but don’t require constant monitoring. While nursing homes are usually government-funded and provide long-term care, CNFs are privately owned and operated and can provide the same care at a much lower cost.

What are Some Important Actions Being Taken at Senior Care Facilities to Address these Issues?

Nursing facilities may offer more short-term care for patients of all ages and a wider variety of care. Organizations must possess the capability to provide this kind of treatment to keep their facilities full, especially since licensed bed occupancy rates are dwindling. More nurse practitioners, physician assistants, geriatric nurses, and physicians are needed to provide this care. Facilities can offer more home-like environments, more activities and festivities, and more comfortable home-like settings. In addition, organizations are focusing on resident-focused care in more ways than before. Two examples are resident participation in care planning and contributing to the home operation. Some organizations also employ all-purpose workers who cook, clean, and assist with everyday activities.

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What are Skilled Nursing Facilities Doing to Reduce Turnover Rates?

Turnover has been a significant problem for long-stay facilities. Many studies have been conducted on turnover and its causes but have yet to yield consistent results. Multiple reasons contribute to turnover rates being high. Low wages and benefits, for example, may be combined with high job demands and inadequate resources in the service sector. Turnover rates also increase due to a lack of respect and rewards, harmful work environments, and low wages and benefits. As a result of thin operating margins and new regulations, most skilled nursing facilities have needed help tackling turnover. Managers often interact with operating at lower costs, causing turnover to rise due to the associated adverse effects on employees. The best approach is to tackle the issue from several angles, mindful of how lower operating costs impact employee retention.

What are the Steps to Becoming a Care Provider of Choice?

This subject is one of the most crucial issues in post-acute care. As hospitals are subject to value-based payment systems, post-acute care providers will be held responsible more and more. Post-acute care providers must be proactive. A number of approaches are available to help hospitals enhance the quality of care and reduce costs. Small steps can be taken initially to build on their efforts subsequently. In addition to sharing quality and patient satisfaction data, nursing facilities may provide hospitals with materials for the services offered. Hospitals learn about the kind of care their residents receive through this method. They may also give the hospitals specific information about how they are working to reduce readmissions. Nursing facilities may take significant steps in conjunction with hospitals, which usually require some degree of cooperation. They can form care-transition teams that work to enhance and standardize discharge instructions, forms, and other communications. They may also work with hospitals to establish a joint action plan for treating the most at-risk patients. The most critical thing skilled nursing facilities can do is recognize this issue’s significance. Skilled nursing facilities need to brainstorm ideas within their walls about what makes them different from other facilities and focus on those differences.

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Challenges in Establishing New Competent Care Facilities

While there is a significant demand for the services provided by CNFs, several challenges come with opening new hospitals. CNFs require significant investment in the purchase of land and construction of new facilities, as well as in staffing and managing the facility. A new CNF can cost millions of dollars to build and requires a significant upfront investment from the owners. This can make it difficult for smaller communities to invest in new facilities and for operators to break even on these facilities. Regulatory and licensing issues also need to be considered before opening a CNF. Each state has its regulations and licensing requirements for operators and often requires the operator to meet specific numbers of patients with a certain level of care. This can make it difficult for smaller communities or rural areas that need a larger patient population to meet these requirements.

Opportunities for New Competent Care Facilities

While there are significant challenges and barriers to entry in the CNF space, there are also significant opportunities for operators to capitalize on the growing demand for these services. The population of seniors is growing, and the rate of chronic diseases is increasing new demands on the healthcare system. This has led to an increase in the demand for skilled nursing care services. CNFs provide a service that is needed by many patients who would benefit from this type of care. The best way for operators to capitalize on this demand is to identify the areas of the country where there is a gap in the supply of these services. Then, it’s crucial to find ways to overcome the barriers to entry by working with local government officials, potential investors, and potential staff members who are needed to run the facility.

Hucu.ai is a HIPAA-compliant patient-centered messaging healthcare software that takes the effort of wondering, worrying, calling the hospital, and watching for answers when the patient’s friends and family can simply receive text updates via Hucu.ai.  It’s also very helpful for the healthcare team members to effectively communicate with the patient’s family without taking additional time for phone calls. This ends up in better patient care and family satisfaction. Hucu.ai can help you learn more about our Nursing Training. Contact us to speak with a solutions expert.

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