Keeping up with changes that affect the future of post-acute care is almost a full-time job these days. Although there are certainly challenges ahead, your post-acute care facility can thrive and grow if you’re willing to embrace new ideas and strategies. Here are eight trends you can expect to see in the coming years.
1. More Patients (Eventually)
If your census is currently in decline, chances are it won’t stay that way for long. More than 20 percent of the U.S. population will be over 65 by 2029, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Many of these senior citizens will have complex conditions that require skilled post-acute care. Make sure your facility is prepared to scale to meet these needs when the time comes.
2. Longer Stays
It will take longer to achieve positive outcomes for patients who have multiple or complicated health issues. In the future, the average length of stay may increase slightly to accommodate the need for more intensive therapy. To increase patient satisfaction, make sure you’re investing in rehab technology that will help produce better outcomes in the shortest amount of time.
3. Payment Challenges
Decreasing Medicaid reimbursements and other payment issues may make it difficult for some post-acute care facilities to stay in business. Your facility’s long-term survival will depend on improving efficiency without compromising value and patient satisfaction.
4. More Skilled Staff Members
Caring for high-acuity patients means hiring more nurses and therapists. Increasing nursing staff can help reduce re-hospitalizations and ensure continuing hospital referrals.
5. More Emphasis on Employee Satisfaction
Although low wages certainly contribute to turnover, compensation isn’t the only reason employees resign. Creating a friendly, supportive environment that values all employees will help you avoid attrition. Without a stable team, it’s almost impossible to provide the high level of care patients and referring hospitals demand.
6. Better Data
The new value-based payment system is data-driven and relies heavily on quality and patient satisfaction information. The more information you can provide to referring hospitals on treatments, satisfaction levels, and other key performance indicators, the better. Improving data collection and documentation also will help ensure you meet requirements imposed by Medicaid, Medicare, and private payers; and receive payments promptly.
7. Staff Focus on the Bottom Line
Do you keep financial and census information to yourself? Sharing some of that information with your staff is a must if you want to meet goals. When employees understand the challenges the facility faces, they can offer suggestions to improve efficiency and reduce waste. Providing information on goals and progress on the facility intranet or in the breakroom is a simple way to keep everyone informed.
8. Increased Coordination with Local Hospitals and Other Partners
Anything you can do to facilitate the transfer process will be appreciated and remembered by local hospitals. It’s much easier to share data and transfer information with hospitals if you use the same type of Electronic Health Record system they do. You may also want to consider other ways to form partnerships, such as participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program or the Bundled Payments for Care Initiative.
Despite valid concerns about the future of post-acute care, you’ll find plenty of opportunities for success if you’re willing to innovate and understand the needs of the aging baby boomer population.
One of the best ways to prepare for the future is to invest in new technology that improves your facility’s performance. Learn how the Dynatron Solaris Plus can help improve your patients’ outcomes.