Recently stakeholders from strategic and geographic aligned acute care and senior living organizations came together to work collaboratively to answer the question “How can hospitals and senior living providers work better together?” Attendees of The Role of Acute Care and Senior Living in an Integrated Healthcare Delivery System Roundtable, were eager to collaborate, knowing the results could be significant. As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, acute care hospitals and senior living providers are grappling with new realities: our elders are living longer and want to live healthier, while the government is challenging providers to do more with less. Acute and senior living providers can make a difference in quality of life when we collaborate to create a health and well-being culture in our communities, one that reduces the need for hospital admissions. For example:
- Get ready; get better: patients who need surgery can benefit from instruction on the best diet and exercise regimen that will speed recovery, as well as long-term plans to continue to manage their health. Additionally, knowledge and treatment of behavioral health issues, including depression, can affect recovery. Senior living providers are uniquely positioned to assist with each of these ways to improve surgical results.
- Manage, don’t just cope: Senior living providers can share their expertise and resources by offering disease management and wellness programs to hospital patients that focus on topics such as balance or healthy eating. These programs can strengthen the hospital’s and/or primary care practice’s offerings and proactively manage high-risk patients. Collaboration creates a win-win situation.
- Promote positivity: Following surgery, senior communities can do a lot to support patients’ recovery physically and emotionally. Volunteer programs that encourage patients to be active and involved in their recovery can reduce depression, as can the involvement of clergy.
- Zero in: Roundtable participants discussed the idea of senior communities as the hub for information, health intervention and health management for the entire community. There is an opportunity for senior living providers to act as a central point of contact and support patients by more efficiently coordinating their care. The myriad of services is often overwhelming and providing assistance can improve the person’s experience and well-being.
- Follow the need: Offering services that address specific issues rather than the underlying disease expands the market for acute care hospitals and senior living providers. For example, Parkinson’s patients having difficulty walking may benefit from physical therapy. Senior communities and hospitals can partner to determine which patients may benefit from targeted services.
None of us is as smart as all of us. Initiating a robust discussion is only the beginning of the knowledge sharing that needs to happen to improve quality of life. I’m looking forward to what comes next.
- Aligning Needs and Expectations: Best Practices for Acute Care and Senior Care Collaboration
- A Systems-Based Approach to Improving Our Nation’s Health and Controlling Rising Healthcare Costs
Joseph Cuticelli is CEO of Seniors for Sodexo North America and responsible for more than 400 senior living locations across the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. Mr. Cuticelli sponsored the 2015 Seniors Roundtable because he believes that senior living communities and healthcare institutions have the opportunity and the responsibility to work more closely to improve the patient experience and quality of life after an illness or injury.
— Sodexo USA, Inc. (@sodexoUSA) February 22, 2016