Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have lagged behind other healthcare sectors when it comes to implementing innovations in care and amenities. That is changing as these care facilities discover the benefits of adopting innovative care models. As the country emerges from COVID-19, nursing homes are equipped with lessons learned during the pandemic. These lessons include the need for developing higher quality care through innovative practices. Just like nursing home insurance protects facilities and their staff from risks, adopting modern features and care delivery models paves the way to a successful future for senior care facilities of nearly every size and type.
What Are Nursing Home Innovations?
Traditionally, nursing homes are group-care facilities with a relatively high number of residents and a team of caregivers and support staff. Some of these facilities are sprawling, with hundreds of beds and residents requiring a broad range of medical and lifestyle support care. Innovation can be hard to come by in many traditional facilities; these facilities have not adopted the technology, care delivery models, or staffing needed to meet the ever-growing needs of residents.
These innovations – like computer-based care management systems and new ways of tackling challenges — offer several benefits to facility managers, staff members, and residents. Innovations can:
- Reduce staffing workloads.
- Reduce medication errors.
- Improve facility safety and security.
- Supplement the risk protections of nursing home insurance.
- Enhance perceptions of care quality among residents.
Best of all, innovation in nursing homes can help differentiate facilities, allowing the higher-quality options to stand out against competitors. This can be a major decision point for prospective residents and their families who are seeking the best care and accommodations.
The Small Home Long-Term Care Model
One of the most exciting innovations in long-term care has been the development of the “small home” model. Small home nursing homes offer a more home-like environment for residents and often feature accommodations like:
- Private bedrooms and bathrooms
- 10 or fewer residents in a shared facility
- Centralized common areas styled and appointed to look like living rooms
- Shared home-styled kitchens with 24/7 access
- Outdoor spaces like gardens and recreation areas.
A leader in the small home model is known as the Green House Project, which has been adopted by forward-thinking nursing home companies throughout North America.
Residents living in these senior care facilities report greater satisfaction with their care and their accommodations. Staff members also report a higher level of job satisfaction, which is critical in building relationships between caregivers and residents. When staff members are happier, they tend to stay, reversing the growing trend of high rates of attrition plaguing many long-term care facilities. Ultimately, the costs associated with implementing the small home model are more than offset by reductions in staff turnover and in administrative expenses. In simple terms, these innovative facilities are easier to manage.
By offering superior, personalized care, caregivers are more quickly able to spot issues with declining physical or mental health as well. This has shown to reduce hospitalization rates; in fact, one study of the Green House Project showed the average resident using about $2000 less in total Medicare and Medicaid costs over a one-year evaluation period.
By reducing expenses associated with staffing, care, and management, nursing homes adopting innovations like the small home model can operate profitably. In addition, reductions in nursing home insurance claims help to keep skyrocketing premium expenses in check. This financial stability allows nursing homes to thrive; success is all but assured for the facilities that choose to adopt innovations in care delivery and accommodations for America’s aging population.
About Caitlin Morgan
Caitlin Morgan specializes in insuring assisted living facilities and nursing homes and can assist you in providing insurance and risk management services for this niche market. Give us a call to learn more about our programs at (877) 226-1027.