Top 5 Key Takeaways from Long Term Care 100 Conference 2023


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Here is what we learned from the Long Term Care 100 conference this year and how leadership in healthcare needs to collectively move forward from this point: 

1)The rising demand for strategies that help sustain the U.S caregiving workforce 

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There is a rising demand to compensate for the growing shortage in caregivers across the United States. Healthcare organizations need more effective strategies around employee compensation, retention as well as recruitment. Employees must be given above-average pay plus added benefits. In terms of employee retention, organizations must create a workplace culture that places employees first, where there are active values of support, flexibility in work schedules, and opportunities for career development. 

Likewise, organizations should invest in a strong community presence for recruiting employees such as strong social media recruiting strategies. Organizations must also upgrade their medical/clinical capabilities which will both help improve clinical quality and retain the clinical workforce. 

Another key strategy is to invest in technology such as automated care plans, voice-activated coaching, robots etc. The key learning here is: investing in technology that makes the lives of caregivers easier and makes them more productive in their roles. 

2)Long Term Care organizations are expanding into specialty services

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As dialysis is one of the largest sectors of U.S healthcare, there are around 90 million annual dialysis treatments, with an annual expenditure that amounts to almost 75 billion U.S dollars. The ESRD population is expected to double within the next ten years, and only 10-15% of dialysis patients are able to filter through a skilled nursing facility. The current state of SNF dialysis is not good, with there being high costs in transportation, higher number of hospital readmits, census limitations and so forth. In-sourcing dialysis drives revenue growth, cost savings such as eliminating transportation costs, and reducing hospital readmissions. It results in greater patient satisfaction with more flexible treatment schedules, as there is the option for home treatment, with 3-5 treatments per week. 

See also Making Care Accessible Amidst Fuel Price Crisis and Shortage of Home Care Staff

On-site home haemodialysis will help skilled nursing facilities in saving $100 per resident, per roundtrip, by cutting down on transportation costs and reducing staff paperwork. 

Sending a resident out for dialysis is a huge undertaking. Scheduling the appointment around therapy, planning and bagging a meal, and getting them to and from the center, it’s hours of time for the staff.” 

There were disagreements over paperwork between the dialysis centers and staff at the skilled nursing facility. Managing everything at the care facility for the dialysis resident will make things easier for both the patient and the staff members. Dialysis residents at skilled nursing facilities with more frequent home haemodialysis experience longer survival, reduced hospitalizations and shorter post-dialysis recovery time. 

3)CMS sparks concern with proposal for minimum staffing levels across SNFs

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are proposing minimum staffing requirements for skilled nursing facilities. These unfunded minimum staffing levels could come as a heavy blow to seniors in terms of losing access to vital care services. The bare minimum that has been proposed is 4.1 hours per patient per day, which would mean investing 11.3 billion dollars to hire an additional 200,000 nurses and nurses aides. In addition to this, the mandate falls short of providing support for building a team of new caregivers, such as developing supporting/training programs. 

Labor shortages already exist alongside chronic Medicaid underfunding, and so this given mandate will only exacerbate current challenges. 

Healthcare organizations must step forth and let CMS know that this proposal is not properly timed and lacks some key components that would make it a feasible option. The currently available workforce cannot accommodate these increased staffing minimums under this underfunded mandate. 

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With this, the given mandate falls short of providing the support needed in addressing the root cause of staffing shortages among other challenges. 

4)Long-term care needs to rebrand its image and take control post Covid-19 

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Skilled nursing care faces an unprecedented branding challenge in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Those who believe they have better options are hesitant to embrace the care SNFs can offer. The press fuels this by highlighting system breakdowns or one-off situations. They never report the overwhelming success we have with helping patients live better lives.”

Media coverage from Covid-19 has disrupted the image of skilled nursing care facilities across the country. The solution then is to take control of all those negative perceptions, by not letting the press shape a negative image of long-term care facilities in the U.S. This means skilled nursing facilities must work hard to rebrand their image, by bringing forward their true identity. 

Long-term care facilities need to debunk negative perceptions and show people that SNFs are safer than being at home. 

Through unbranding, care facilities can carefully construct or reinvent their facility’s image to one that shows that residents will be taken care of in the best possible way. 

5)Acute care geriatric behavioral health is a growing need among the aging population 

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The population is aging fast, and those above 60 years of age are likely to double in size by the year 2050. This elevates the risk of mental and behavioral health conditions among the aging population: mental or neurological disorders are common in over 20% of individuals aged 60 or above. 

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However, access to the following care services is falling short as there is a growing shortage of psychiatrists and other mental health providers. On the other hand, the demand for acute care geriatric behavioral health hospitals is on the rise and running one offers several benefits. This is one way of addressing the growing demands of the geriatric behavioral health population. 

Running one’s own hospital allows your residents to receive geriatric behavioral healthcare at your own facility in case of an emergency. 

As senior care providers, they already have the expertise in terms of geriatric care: this makes the transition easier, in terms of providing geriatric behavioral health services for aging adults. 

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