There’s no doubt that skilled nursing facilities are evolving. So, what can we expect in the coming years?
Before the pandemic, skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) had plenty of concerns about the future. An aging population of Baby Boomers and a shortage of trained staff looked like a recipe for disaster. The ongoing vulnerability of SNF organizations and residents to COVID-19 virus has created a healthcare crisis.
The virus has hit SNFs particularly hard. According to the CDC, as of June, 2020, more than 80% of all COVID-19 related deaths in LTC settings occurred in SNFs. This is unsurprising given that elderly individuals and those with chronic health conditions are at greater risk for more severe complications arrising from COVID-19.
Before the pandemic, SNFs struggled to provide adequate care due to staffing shortages and other issues. Today leaders in nursing home facilities must grapple with how to protect their residents and staff while also ensuring that quality care is delivered. It is a daunting task, but one that must be tackled if we are to avoid further tragedy in our long-term care facilities.
What to expect in the next few years.
1. Addressing staff shortages
There are many reasons why skilled nursing facilities have difficulty attracting and retaining staff. One of the biggest challenges is low pay and poor working conditions. There is increasing pressure on facilities to find new and more effective ways of recruiting and retaining staff. This might mean increasing wages and benefits, new recruitment strategies, and embracing technology to improve patient care.
2. Moving toward person-centered care
Skilled nursing facilities have long been struggling with staff engagement. Low engagement leads to high turnover, which in turn leads to lower quality of care. A recent shift in focus to person-centered care has led to a renewed interest in finding ways to increase staff engagement.
3. Promoting safer workplaces
Protecting the physical safety of staff members must remain a top priority for SNFs. Having robust safety plans, reducing the spread of infectious diseases and building a workplace culture where staff are empowered all help to continue in these efforts.