Post-Acute and Senior Living News – October 2017

AHCA CEO: Skilled Nursing Providers Must Branch Out to Survive

“This year might have presented the hardest operating environment ever for skilled nursing operators, American Health Care Association (AHCA) President and CEO Mark Parkinson said this week at the organization’s annual conference in Las Vegas,” Skilled Nursing News reports. “Today’s successful companies are figuring out how to offer quality care in a shorter period of time, to win preferred provider status with the managed care players and ACOs. Successful providers also tend to have a variety of service lines and some are bringing in new types of patients. Some operators have started offering other niche services such as caring for younger people with brain injuries or multiple sclerosis, or even aging prisoners. Current conventional wisdom says that small to mid-size providers might actually have an edge on their larger competitors, but Parkinson believes that success is not dependent on size.”

 

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Better SNF Design, Operations Can Engage Residents’ Senses

“Though many older adults experience some kind of sensory impairment as they age, the problem doesn’t stop with vision and hearing. Taste, smell and touch can also dull as people age, and not every long-term care provider takes that into account,” according to Skilled Nursing News. “With that in mind, providers could do much more to help design ‘sense-sensitive’ environments for seniors, according to a new report from global food services giant Sodexo and the University of Ottawa. One way providers can make communities more comfortable for people with hearing impairments, for example, is to play soothing music or nature sounds. Another design tip the researchers identified was using red night lights in hallways or bathrooms to make it easier for residents to navigate at night.  When a resident experiences a decrease in the sense of taste, they can lose interest in food. Adding texture to food and cooking with quality ingredients can help increase palatability, the study said.”

MIT Explores How Long-Term Care Could Transform as U.S. Ages

“Age-related demographic shifts could one day drive a radical transformation of how some senior living and long-term care facilities are designed and operated, according to a recent report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Center for Real Estate,” reports Skilled Nursing News. “The looming influx of seniors, sometimes called the ‘silver tsunami,’ is anticipated to expedite the development of new, senior-oriented technologies and designs. The future of long-term care will likely include remote sensors that monitor residents, automatized pill and IV dispensers and the robotization of services, the report stated. As the number of seniors who need senior living services grows, assisted living providers will likely move away from operating smaller, stand-alone locations and instead choose to operate larger, more complex and cost-effective buildings, according to Albert Saiz, director of the MIT Center for Real Estate. One possible trend the researchers identified is the rise of suburban “civic centers,” which are clusters of public spaces, schools, retail, multifamily units and mixed-use buildings where the young and old co-exist.”

Sabra CEO: National Providers ‘Can’t Do It Anymore’

According to Sabra Health REIT CEO Rick Matros, “bigger is not better when it comes to investing in skilled nursing facilities. Instead of building mass by stringing together operators with national reach, owners should instead concentrate on finding smaller, nimble partners to mold into agile units with flexible limbs,” McKnight’s reports. “His comments undoubtedly were grounded in Sabra’s announcement Monday that it planned to sell its remaining operations run by Genesis HealthCare by the end of the year. The REIT also announced it was acquiring a smaller group of 24 skilled and transitional care properties. Matros said providers with ‘two to five’ properties can be very good investments.”

Lexington Health Network Named Innovator of the Year

“Innovating in telemedicine has been a priority of Lexington Health Network in Lombard, IL, for the past five years. Its dedication has resulted in the Innovator of the Year Gold Award in the McKnight’s Excellence in Technology competition,” according to McKnight’s. “Starting in July 2012, the system used a third-party telemedicine service for after-hours changes in condition management, explained LHN Chief Information Officer Paul Knight. But it lacked some of the interoperability services and features the system wanted, so Knight led the charge to create a new system. By November 2014, Lexington had developed the first generation of ‘LexConnect,’ implementing it in 10 skilled nursing facilities by January. The first version included a medical-grade cart with high-definition video conference. LHN has offered use of LexConnect to any physician following patients within the system. In 2015, LHN assessed 330 patients and had 77% of them managed in place within its skilled nursing facilities. That grew to 1,124 patients in 2016, with 87% managed in place. That year, LHN established Curatess (formerly Connected for Care) as a way to support patients in post-acute settings and developed a second-generation LexConnect.”