In the past five years, the landscape of Long Term Care (LTC) has changed. The Affordable Care Act is making it more difficult to obtain Medicaid reimbursement dollars while putting more emphasis on improving the level of care. Requiring communities to do more with less. Another trend in Long Term Care is the shift in consumer (resident) expectations. Residents entering these communities have more options than in the past. They are looking for a community with the comfort of home and they are tech savvy, making the amenities offered an important deciding factor. Owners have turned to technology to, first satisfy the new requirements of residents and second to help reduce cost by making the facility run more efficiently. Below are current trends being implemented in Long Term Care communities:
- Mobile Kiosks – Some LTC owners are building communities without Nurses’ stations. Nurses are starting to use mobile kiosks with PC’s and/or iPad’s. This helps reduce cost because it eliminates the 24/7 need to staff the nurses’ station.
- Electronics Health Record systems (EHRs) – There are a number of drivers compelling LTC communities to adopt EHRs:
- Changing consumer expectations – residents and their families (consumers) expect caregivers/doctors to know exact medical history.
- Patient safety – to have the complete medical history of the resident easily accessible to determine the best method of treatment.
- Administrative efficiency and effectiveness – to get access to information in real-time by eliminating patient medical history research.
- New business models – to have the power of mobility, to get information anywhere and anytime.
- Mobile Devices – Communities are requesting mobile devices for their caregivers to allow them to alert another caregiver for assistance. Implementing mobile devices also eliminates the use of an external paging system, giving the facility a more home-like atmosphere.
- Middleware Software – In order to improve care, LTC communities are relying on technology to send alerts and alarms from disparate systems, such as resident wandering systems, security, fire alarm, bed/chair pad alarms and temperature monitoring to one mobile device.
- Reporting – LTC communities are requesting the ability to provide reports to resident’s families and federal agencies, such as VOYCE.
- Wireless Networks – The residents and their families are pushing for better connectivity for all their devices. Therefore, LTC communities are starting to install wireless networks to provide residents and their families with WiFi capabilities throughout the entire facility.
As the baby boomer generation starts entering into Long Term Care communities and the requirements by federal and state governments grow, communities will be forced to adopt these changes and more.