A version of this article was previously published in Leading Age California in December 2020.
As 2020 comes to a close, now is an opportune time for long-term care CEOs to reflect on organizational goals and establish priorities for the coming year and beyond.
While the COVID-19 pandemic presents numerous challenges and operational disruptions, many organizations have proven resilient—proactively adapting and successfully accommodating new necessities as the pandemic continues.
For companies that have been able to weather COVID-19’s impact without severely draining resources, 2021 could pave the way to focus on growth and strategic diversification as long-term care demographics continue to change.
Below, we explore how CEOs can consider expanding their focus areas.
As long-term care organizations pursue growth, many CEOs weigh the benefits of combining or affiliating with larger organizations. Many smaller stand-alone organizations are expected to combine with larger organizations to stay competitive, while mid-size organizations seek acquisitions or strategic affiliations.
While these strategies can certainly be effective, they can also prove limiting if a company only focuses on growth from a brick-and-mortar perspective. Other growth strategies, such as diversifying service lines, can present major opportunities if a company wants to expand at a broader level.
That said, determining how to shift service offerings can be challenging—requiring board members and senior leadership to think outside of the box and be comfortable stepping away from current understandings of how an organization operates.
The future of long-term care could very well reside not just in building more facilities, but also in accommodating those who wish to remain in their current homes or a home-like setting. This would require organizations to focus on strategies that wrap services around numerous home settings, rather than requiring them to be located in one facility.
Incoming Baby Boomers
The number of people 65 and older in the United States is expected to increase to 55 million in 2020. Although the average admission age in long-term care facilities remains around 84 years old, more Baby Boomers will begin to age into this population in the near future.
This generation is likely to enter with improved health, longer life expectancy, and more convenience and leisure expectations than previous generations. For the time being, many will likely want to avoid what they may view as a traditional old-folks home and continue their life with opportunity to travel and be active.
Organizations should consider how they can bring services to people who plan to reside in their homes longer.
To meet the needs of clients in a home setting, however that may look, telehealth will certainly play a crucial role.
Fortunately, technological advancements continue to drive telehealth services, and the COVID-19 pandemic quickly ramped up many organizations’ telehealth capabilities in ways that could prove beneficial in the long-term.
Smart-home features, such as night fall preventions, continue to expand and can often easily be installed in older apartments or homes. Virtual services for physical therapy and family visits have also become valued during the pandemic.
It will be important to determine which technologies your organization should focus on for the long-term and how they can be integrated into your current services as well as home settings.