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 already looked to be a recipe for disaster. But couple these statistics with the ongoing vulnerability of LTC organizations and residents to the COVID-19 virus and we remain in the middle of a serious healthcare crisis.
While long-term care residents only represent about 1% of the population, more than 200,000 residents and staff have died as a result of the COVID virus since the beginning of the pandemic (Kaiser Family Foundation). This number is likely undercounted because it doesn’t include deaths that occurred at non-nursing home long-term care facilities after June 30, 2021, and it also suggests incomplete state reporting.
So, as we look to the coming year, what are some trends in long-term care facilities we can anticipate?
1. 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 who can 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 will have to find new and more effective ways of recruiting new and keeping existing staff to meet care demands. This means increasing salaries and improving benefits, finding new ways to recruit workers, and embracing innovative technology to aid in patient care. Paycor Recruiting can help you find and secure top talent as well as administrative staff to help ensure your LTC stays fully staffed in the coming years.
2. Promoting 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, especially when it comes to the very real psychological effects of burnout. This means not only safeguarding the physical health of staff as they care for sick patients, but also building a workplace culture where they’re 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 such as Analytics, Pulse Surveys and HR can help you measure and track employee engagement as well as solicit feedback to better understand and respond to your staff’s unique needs and goals.
3. A Focus on Person-Centered Care
One of the 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 facility is to keep seniors independent as long as possible, while supporting their dignity and individual choices. This focus requires a cultural shift that begins at the top of the LTC organization to empower and involve nurses and other patient-facing staff in decision-making processes. 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, such as Pulse Surveys.
4. The Growth of In-Home Care
An AARP survey revealed that 90% of adults over the age of 65 would prefer to remain in their homes as long as possible. This statistic should be of significance to long-term care facilities because they will need to consider (if they already haven’t) including in-home health care in their offerings to meet changing consumer preferences. 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 consumers’ preferences to age in place. Many large long-term care facilities such as Emeritus have already responded to this trend and have pivoted to include home health and hospice care. If your organization is contemplating this move as well, you should also take into account how your HR team will manage the workload of onboarding additional staff.
5. Embracing New Technology
Considering these 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 talent quality. 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 2022 and beyond.
Healthcare Providers Face Unique Pressures and Challenges
Paycor’s technology helps solve the complex challenges long-term care and outpatient facility leaders face within the healthcare industry. From recruiting skilled nurses and efficiently scheduling staff, to maintaining compliance and managing labor costs, Paycor has the expertise to help.