The Senior Living industry is eyeing a likely paradigm shift in light of the COVID-19 pandemic: The need for more robust clinical resources and innovative programming for the millions of seniors aging in place in assisted living, independent living and memory care communities nationwide.
Lessons Learned: COVID-19 Shines a Spotlight on Much-Needed ‘Clinical Strategy’
Lifestyle services, concierge living and distinctive amenities have always been strong market drivers for Senior Living communities. Going forward, however, Senior Living residents and their families will desire the peace of mind that comes from a strong and sophisticated medical and wellness model. Highly trained onsite nursing care plus easily-accessible, high quality ancillary services and programming – that assure resident safety & health – are already becoming a distinct, marketable advantage.
On-Campus Rehab & Wellness: A Model Without a Downside
By working collaboratively with IDT/Nursing to offer on-campus comprehensive therapy services and meaningful wellness programming, rehab teams customize creative therapeutic interventions to drive/maintain strength, cognitive function, and keep residents engaged. And without question, these clinical services are effective in preventing adverse events. For example, physical, occupational and speech therapists are ideally qualified to help Senior Living communities mitigate their residents’ biggest risk factors such as infection, falls, hospitalizations and decline in function or cognitive status. Furthermore, the Senior Community benefits from outcome data and case studies to share with families and referral sources.
The Timing is Right
Consider that innovative programming will undoubtedly become even more important if shelter in place orders continue and/or seniors and caretakers are required to maintain social distancing standards. Therapists have become quite creative in driving proactive initiatives throughout the COVID-19 crisis with specially designed strategies such as “in-room” treatments and high quality video segments (that feature educational programming like HealthPRO® Heritage’s Discovery Series) that can be community-branded and aired via closed-circuit television. HealthPRO® Heritage designed a program – Get Up and Get Connected – that combines therapy sessions with virtual visits between patients/residents & their loved ones. Healthy-Living-on-the-Go is another program that features health literacy materials to inform/inspire residents to lead their best lives – even amidst a public health crisis that has millions of seniors at risk for declining health and feeling isolated.
We Can’t Predict The Future But…
Traditional healthcare service delivery models will continue to evolve in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and savvy Senior Living leaders will adapt and innovate. The goal being to continue to offer exceptional care and lifestyle experiences with an increased focus on medical and wellness models that enhance the safety and well-being of existing residents while also serving to attract new residents as well... Early adopters of a more robust clinical model will enjoy the advantages:
- Showcasing a differentiated service model (and positive outcomes that proves residents can stay safe & healthy) to fortify up and downstream partnerships with local hospitals, skilled rehab facilities and home health providers;
- Earning new potential residents’ consideration;
- Holistically contributing to a strong population of seniors by creating an environment that prioritizes wellness and health.
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