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Four Challenges Skilled Nursing Facility Leaders are Facing

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Compeer Financial
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The population is aging, the cost of health care is rising and consumers’ health care expectations are changing. As these three realities collide, challenges and changes are rippling through the entire health care industry. Each facet of health care is affected a little differently, but each is facing big challenges. Below are four ways skilled nursing facilities are being affected:

Staffing Shortages

As baby boomers age and life expectancy increases, the number of people needing care assistance is outpacing the number of people available to care for them according to Larry Lester, a partner at Wipfli, LLP. Lester and his team have extensive experience in the financial management of long-term care facilities.

They recently collected demographic information for Wisconsin that illustrates what is happening around the country. In Wisconsin, there will be 2.3 people in the workforce for every person over 65 by 2030. That is nearly half the number of workers for every person over 65 that there were in 2010.

As this shift occurs, long-term care has been one of the first hit industries with many facilities struggling to find enough staff. The struggle will likely continue as the number of individuals needing these facilities increases, driving the need for more staff in an industry already struggling to find enough staff.

Quality Focus

Adding to the staffing issue is the need to provide quality care. Studies have showing a link between adequate staffing and the quality of care, which will become increasingly important according to Lester.

“With the Affordable Care Act, the responsibility for managing an individual’s care will shift from the government to insurance companies or health care systems,” he explains. “This gives them more say in where long-term care patients go when they need additional care.”

Lester expects this shift will drive long-term care facilities to focus on quality as referrals become increasingly linked to their track records of quality care.

Feeling Like Home

At the same, consumer expectations are also changing. Both Lester and Bob Madsen, vice president at Compeer Financial, are seeing the effects of this change as they work with facilities to remodel and build new. “As organizations draw up plans for remodels and replacements, they are favoring facilities that feel and look more like home than the institutional designs of the past,” says Lester.

Households with private rooms are replacing long corridors of shared rooms. “Consumers increasingly want private rooms,” says Madsen. “It’s almost a necessary. Facilities that don’t offer private rooms often lose residents to facilities that do.”

In addition to private rooms, each household within a facility often has a large common area similar to an open concept kitchen, living and dining area you’d see in a home. Lester says that even the exterior of new and remodeled facilities are taking on a more home-like feel with vinyl siding and peaked roofs replacing brick buildings.

To see a facility that recently upgraded from a traditional facility to one designed using household models, read about the new Glenhaven Rehabilitation & Skilled Nursing facility.

Converging Multiple Levels of Care

Beyond the facilities themselves, organizations are trying to place multiple levels of care of one campus. “In small towns, one of the biggest trends I’m seeing is facilities trying to get their independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing facilities together on one campus,” says Madsen. “This allows residents to stay in one place, in their own community, as they age and increasingly need more support.”

This also makes it easy for residents to continue to visit and see their friends, or in some cases, spouses if the level of care they need is different.

How We Can Help:

Compeer Financial can help facilities make changes they need to position themselves for success in the future. From facilitating the purchase of bonds to coordinating partnerships with the USDA and financial institutions, Compeer Financial helps organizations move forward with renovations and new facility construction projects. Learn more.

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