|Shakespeare’s Hamlet, feeling pulled in many directions and stymied about what to do, decides with these famous words to leave his situation up to fate and be prepared for anything. Although it didn’t help him in the long run, he might well have been offering what could be construed as “good advice” to today’s long-term care owner/operators. Observing their own situation these days, they can only be wondering “what next?”|
A recent study sponsored by the AARP Public Policy Institute addressed just that question. What it found in sizing up long-term care’s future was, in a nutshell, a world in which the elderly were becoming healthier and more committed to independence, yet in need of much more medicalized nursing homes when they did get sick. In short, anyone operating a traditional nursing home these days must feel as though he or she is standing on very shaky ground.
Some encouraging trends are just starting to surface, though, including several described in the pages of this magazine. In recent months we’ve published articles, for example, about facilities offering highly specialized post-acute care programs, and about one organization offering highly flexible support services to meet resident needs and demands changing on an almost daily basis. In this issue you will find articles on a resident-driven activities program; a new assisted living facility with built-in structural flexibility allowing it to move with ease toward a more independent market, if need be; and a facility that has developed a luxury bathing facility open to any resident, including Alzheimer’s victims, who is capable of using it. More generally, long-term care operators throughout the United States are developing multilevel-of-care campuses, with universal design, intended to minimize resident transfers throughout the course of their old age.
In short, they’re showing that Hamlet was right about long-term care, at least. With business flying off in all directions and the ground slipping out from under you, readiness is all. NH
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