Your clients are probably well aware of the challenges inherent in the nursing care profession. In particular, senior care is a stressful, demanding, and high-pressure job that requires the most committed and most dedicated professionals.
Given the demands of their roles, nurses and caregivers expectedly make mistakes from time to time. They are only human after all, and even the most thorough and careful professionals are prone to errors when working at peak capacity for hours and days at a time. While nursing home insurance can mitigate some of the personal and professional liabilities that may consequently occur, it is also important to know about the risks and challenges that come with the job.
This brings us to the point of this blog post, which is to highlight the challenges facing the senior care profession in 2022. Apart from the typical obstacles that your clients deal with regularly, they could also expect additional curve balls thrown their way due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors.
Here are some predictions for the coming year from recognized authorities in the senior care industry:
Senior care challenges to expect in 2022
As your clients might already know, staffing will continue to be a major concern for nursing homes in 2022. This sentiment is echoed by Stephen Lomonico, who highlights the critical state of staffing in the long term care industry. The president of the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) Lomonico emphasized the link between staffing and the ability of a facility to care for its residents.
Inconsistencies in caregiver staffing is clearly a significant part of the problem. But while agency staffing might seem to be a feasible alternative, it brings up other issues of its own. It is a costly option for one thing, and it prevents nursing home residents from getting the care continuity that they deserve.
Consequently, many nursing homes have had to turn away new customers due to their inability to conform to state mandated minimum staff requirements. Because this limits the income they earn, care facilities have an even more difficult time attracting and retaining the necessary nursing care personnel.
Occupancy is another area of concern. According to Custom Home Care’s Executive Director Jennifer Avila, people are increasingly reluctant to move senior family members into nursing homes due to ongoing issues related to COVID-19.
As news reports of infection and deaths continue to come in, the situation has forestalled efforts to rebuild nursing care communities already reeling from the past two years of the pandemic. It also doesn’t help that many of the factors that would normally entice seniors to move into nursing homes‒such as activities and socialization‒have been discontinued.
Avila does hold some hope for the future, stating that occupancy rates are bound to increase given the state of the real estate and stock markets, and the continually rising aging population. Even so, she fears that consumer confidence may experience another downturn if another surge occurs, or a new COVID-19 variant emerges.
Ways to deal with the challenges of the coming year
Stephen Lomonico proposes some strategies that may help nursing homes deal with some of these challenges. For the NHA president, the key is to maintain focus on current nursing care personnel, especially with regard to drawing support from local, state, and federal agencies.
Incentives directed toward administrative staff, caregivers, and even janitors could play a crucial role in improving the quality of care and producing more favorable patient outcomes. Lomonico also emphasizes the need to uphold the mental and emotional health of nursing care staff and residents.
For Jennifer Avila, the answer to dealing with staffing issues may lie with previously unexplored strategies. Among her suggestions are the adoption of technology-driven solutions such as medication management systems and even wearable devices that facilitate calls for assistance and monitoring vital signs.
Avila also suggests turning to outside sources for staffing assistance. In particular, senior care facilities could consider recruiting personnel from the tourism and hospitality sectors‒both of which were severely affected by the pandemic‒to fill their staffing needs.
Nurses and caregivers have already gone through an exceedingly rough period over the past couple of years. Although many of the challenges that your clients have gone through over the past two years will remain, they could at least draw from the lessons learned during that difficult period. And with continued progress in COVID-19 vaccines, the challenges of the coming year hopefully won’t be too much to overcome.
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.