Even before the COVID pandemic, healthcare leaders had many concerns about the future of the long-term care industry. The combination of an aging Baby Boomer population and a shortage of trained staff looks to be a recipe for disaster. But couple these statistics with the vulnerability of LTC organizations and residents to the COVID-19 virus and you have the makings of a serious healthcare crisis.
While nursing home residents constitute less than one percent of the total U.S. population, they’ve accounted for 40 percent of U.S. COVID deaths as of the Kaiser Family Foundation’s most recent analysis.
So, as we look to the coming year, what are some trends in long term care facilities we can anticipate?
- Addressing Staff Shortages
Of course, the biggest issue in the coming year has been the same issue for more than two decades: a shrinking talent pool of trained staff to care for a growing population of residents needing more specialized care.
Nearly 10,000 Americans turn 65 years old each day and their life expectancy is increasing by 2.5 years every decade. At this rate, the population of seniors is expected to double by 2030. As a result, LTC facilities are going to have to find new and more effecting ways to recruit and retain staff to meet the care demands. This means increasing salaries and benefits, finding new markets from which to recruit workers, and embracing new technology to assist in patient care.
Paycor Recruiting can help you find and secure top talent as well as administrative staff to ensure your LTC stays fully staffed in the coming year.
- Cultivating a Healthier Work Environment
As part of their mission to provide the best care for patients, LTC facilities are realizing it is first important to care for the caregivers. During this pandemic, this means first to safeguard the health of their staff as they care for sick patients. It also involves building a workplace culture where staff are empowered and rewarded for their efforts and where they have clear guidance and support to grow in their careers.
In practical ways, this also means providing benefits like flexible scheduling, childcare, and concierge services so employees can maintain a healthy work-life balance. Paycor’s tools like Analytics, Pulse Surveys and HR can help you measure and track employee engagement as well as solicit feedback to better understand and respond to their unique needs and goals.
- A Focus on Person-Centered Care
One of the current trends in long term care is a focus on patient satisfaction in addition to clinical outcomes. Care providers are taking resident preferences into account as they plan therapy and other aspects of patient care. Ultimately, the goal of person-centered care in the long-term care is to keep seniors independent as long as possible, while supporting their dignity and individual choices.
This new focus will involve a cultural change that begins at the top of the LTC organization that empowers and involves nurses and other staff in the decision-making process. The focus on person-centered care begins when your staff becomes more engaged and feels a greater sense of ownership in the level of care your facility provides. You can measure and enhance employee engagement with Paycor’s meaningful real-time feedback tools.
- The Growth of Home Care
An AARP survey revealed that 90 percent of adults over 65 would prefer to remain in their home of choice as long as possible. This statistic should be of significance to long-term care facilities that they will need to include home health to meet the changing preferences of the consumer.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that personal care and home health aide positions are projected to be one of the fastest growing occupations over the next 10 years likely due to the consumers preference to age in place.
Many large long-term care facilities like Emeritus have already responded to this trend and have move into home health and hospice care. If your organization is considering this move, you should also consider how your HR team will be able to manage the new workload. How are you shifting operations to meet the growing trend toward of home health?
- Embracing New Technology
In light of these future trends in long term care, it is imperative for your LTC organization to embrace web-based tools to enhance your recruiting efforts, to track and manage the hundreds of resumes you will receive, and to better assess quality talent. You will also need technology to manage employee engagement and benefits so they can find fulfillment in their career goals while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Paycor’s suite of HR solutions can give you the tools to meet the serious market challenges of 2021 and beyond.