Post-Acute and Senior Living News – September 2017

Four U.S. Senators Issue Bipartisan Call for Nursing Home Oversight

“As the state still reels from the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Florida’s two senators took steps to establish a national oversight committee for nursing home disaster preparedness,” Skilled Nursing News reports. “Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson this week filed legislation that would create a National Advisory Committee on Seniors and Disasters, a 15-member board that would help states implement emergency preparedness plans for skilled nursing facilities and other senior-care providers. The committee held a hearing on disaster preparedness Wednesday [September 20] in response to the tragedy in Hollywood, Fla., where a lack of power in the wake of Hurricane Irma led to the deaths of 10 residents. The senators also cited the image of assisted living residents in Dickinson, Texas awaiting rescue from Hurricane Harvey in a flooded room.”

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From Buses to Putting Greens, SNFs Align Rehab with Everyday Life

“As operators in the skilled nursing industry seek to offer higher-end services, some providers have turned to outside-the-box rehabilitation equipment geared toward residents’ lifestyles — from putting greens to throat-controlled video games to a decommissioned city bus,” according to Skilled Nursing News. Other equipment includes a full-scale condo mockup, demonstration cars, or an animated kangaroo to help with completing speech therapy. Other specific tasks seniors might get to practice include getting in and out of bed, reaching for food in the cupboard, moving from the grass to the sidewalk, pushing a grocery cart, or navigating the threshold of a commercial-grade door that they might find in a store or other public space.

Florida Governor Imposes New Rules After Nursing-Home Deaths

“Gov. Rick Scott of Florida announced new rules on Saturday [September 16] requiring nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in the state to have generators capable of maintaining comfortable temperatures for at least 96 hours in the event of a power loss,” reports Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “The governor’s announcement came three days after eight residents of a nursing home in Hollywood, Fla., the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, died when the home lost power to its cooling system in the wake of Hurricane Irma. The public outcry over the episode has intensified after the home said that its staff, or people calling on their behalf, had contacted the governor himself, as well as the power utility and several county and state agencies, to get the problem resolved, to little avail. Under the new rules, all of the state’s assisted-living facilities and nursing homes will have 60 days to obtain what the governor’s statement called ‘ample resources’ that will ‘sustain operations and maintain comfortable temperatures’ for at least four days after a power failure. Those resources, the statement said, include a generator and fuel.”

Ventas CEO: Hurricanes Reveal the Value of Senior Living

“Though challenging to operators — and everyone — as they are occurring, natural disasters such as hurricanes get older adults and their families thinking about the benefits of living in a senior living community, Debra Cafaro, chairman and CEO of real estate investment trust Ventas, said Wednesday afternoon to those attending the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Real Estate Conference in New York City,” according to McKnight’s Senior Living. “‘We typically do see an uptick in inquiries about moving in after these kinds of natural disasters, as people realize the value of health and wellness and safety that can be brought to their loved ones.’ she said. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma also reiterated the benefit of a portfolio that has ‘leading operators,’ Cafaro said, singling out in her comments Kindred Healthcare and Atria Senior Living’s handling of recent weather events. Atria evacuated about seven buildings in Florida, relocating ‘very frail’ residents to hotels, Cafaro said. She noted the logistics involved in a ‘very stressful and life-threatening’ resident move.”

New Tool Finds 15 Connections to Increased Fractures in SNF Residents

“A new risk assessment has shown promise in predicting fracture risk among institutionalized long-term care residents, according to new research published Thursday [August 31],” McKnight’s reports. “The Fracture Risk Assessment in Long-term Care, or FRAiL, was developed by researchers at Boston’s Hebrew SeniorLife as a response to other fracture risk tools that focused primarily on community-dwelling seniors. The team’s research found 15 characteristics in the model were linked to an increased risk of hip fracture among residents, including dementia severity, ability to walk independently, prior falls, wandering and diabetes.”

LHC Group, CHRISTUS Health Announce Joint Venture

“In early August, Lafayette-based LHC Group and CHRISTUS Health, headquartered in Irving, Texas, announced that they had entered into a definitive agreement to form a new joint venture to enhance home health, hospice, long-term acute-care services and community-based services across four states,” according to Acadiana Business. “The joint venture will include 21 service locations of CHRISTUS Health, including seven home health agencies, five hospice programs, two community-based home care services, one inpatient hospice unit and six long-term acute-care hospitals.”

United Methodist Homes Wins Award in 2017 National Mature Media Awards Program

“United Methodist Homes (UMH) was a winner in the 26th annual National Mature Media Awards Program,” reports Hartford Courant. “The program, presented by the Mature Market Resource Center, a national clearinghouse for the senior market, recognizes the nation’s best marketing, communications, educational materials, and programs designed and produced for older adults. Awarded ‘Best in Show’ in this year’s program, UMH earned a Gold Award and ranked in the top five percent of all entries.”