The patient experience doesn’t end at the hospital door. What happens next often defines the long-term outcome for the patient, especially for seniors—and the hospital’s financial outcome as well. 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.
Understanding the need to address these realities, 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.
For seniors whose condition may be complicated by multiple issues, where they receive care following a hospital stay is especially important. For many, the best option may well be a senior living environment with the expertise to influence the pace of recovery.
Our aging society is not only living longer; we want to live healthier, which is complicated by financial pressure from a government challenging providers to do more with less. This paradigm has created a need for various community stakeholders to work together collaboratively, offering a great opportunity for acute care and senior living providers.
It’s a potential win-win with seniors as the primary beneficiaries. If hospitals partner with senior living care experts, seniors receiving specialized post-discharge care may well experience better outcomes. And, hospitals could minimize readmission penalties and other financial drains as senior communities’ expertise leads to more quality outcomes delivered at lower cost. By adding additional dimensions to their services, senior living communities could increase profitability and occupancy and help their residents stay healthier.
A paradigm shift will be needed to accomplish this and many of the top findings from the roundtable supported this, including:
- Commitment to more robust communication. Simply put, senior communities need to know what hospitals need and hospitals need to know what senior communities can provide
- Voluntarily sharing more information. Understand what data is important to both parties and share it to find opportunities
- Proactively expanding the use of technology that can alert providers to acute events even before they happen, instead of just responding
- Encouraging a comprehensive approach to managed care. Understanding each partner’s capabilities and leveraging them, strengthening physician oversight, and post-acute location as the base of information, health intervention and health management for the entire community
Seniors will benefit greatly from increased collaboration and innovation. Technology in particular can be a life-saver. Comprehensive remote monitoring (decrease in activity, sleep disruption, etc.) and telehealth (blood pressure, glucose readings, weight changes, etc.), provides an early warning system to potentially reduces hospitalizations and prevent escalation of health issues through early intervention.
Ultimately, rural or metropolitan, for-profit or not-for-profit, large or small, every organization has to evaluate their existing business model to determine how to meet current and future opportunities. 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. There is tremendous incentive to create a better experience for patients and residents with the resources that already exist if senior living and acute care partners begin to look at their work through a different lens. The possibilities are numerous—and exciting.
- Creating a Health and Well-Being Culture: What Hospitals Can and Senior Communities Can Do
- 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) March 1, 2016