The staffing shortage in Senior Living is creating an inflection point for innovation: How to emerge stronger because of it

Senior care administrator staffing shortage inflection
Senior care administrator staffing shortage inflection

Darren Mathis

“More than one-third of nursing homes and about one in five ALF operators say they are “very concerned” they’ll have to shut their doors if the labor shortage does not turn around.”
- Howard Gleckman for Forbes

The pandemic is proving to do more than just change the way skilled nursing and assisted living communities operate. It is compelling owners and operators to depart from their pre-pandemic business strategies and, in many cases, to rethink and re-write their roadmaps entirely.

The skilled nursing and assisted living staffing shortage crisis isn’t going away anytime soon

Staffing has always been a challenge for the Senior Care Industry, with some operators even limiting admissions to handle the load. Once the pandemic struck, it became a true crisis, which it remains to this day. The crisis is so acute that some skilled nursing operators are recruiting the National Guard to keep their doors open.

This is a truly scary predicament and one that’s predicted to continue well beyond the pandemic.

Old approaches are no longer working

Skilled Nursing and Assisted Living leadership can no longer respond to staffing shortage by taking reactive measures. Operators know that resorting to old, ineffective measures to keep their doors open won’t be enough to solve the problem.

In the current climate, old tactics such as resorting to drastic cost-cutting measures or enlisting a “wait and see” approach are more likely to exacerbate the crisis than they are to alleviate them.

These old approaches leave employees completely overwhelmed or simply jumping ship altogether. Cost cutting measures only puts more work on the backs of your staff, creating even greater stress and increases the likelihood of losing valuable employees.

Likewise, continuing to brace your organization to weather the storm only works when there is a forecast of blue sky ahead. As of now we don’t have such a forecast. Morale wanes when nothing is being done to tackle an issue, leading to more employee shortages & ultimately impacting the quality of care.

Want to schedule a call to see how LincWare can help your organization?

How innovation is buffering the crisis for Senior Care

Operators are recognizing quickly that to survive, they must embrace innovations that allow them to do much more with a lot less human touch.

Surviving a crisis can bring substantial benefits to a company if, in the process, they come to embrace strategies with value that lasts beyond the crisis itself. We’re seeing this in the explosion of innovative automation technologies; some of which not only help ease the strain of staffing shortages but promise efficiencies downstream that provide multiple value touchpoints. their process & automate where they previously relied on humans.

How your organization can prepare for innovation

  1. Figure out where your silos are buried
    Most organizations are surprised to learn that far more of their “process” is buried in the experience of their long-term staff members or at the very least, not fully written down and shared between departments. These situations leave them incredibly vulnerable, but simply flushing out where all of your process information is stored and getting it documented fully gets you in a much better position.
  2. Evaluate every workflow & process
    With fully documented processes, your teams can evaluate the true efficiency of your workflow and processes. How much time does it take from start to finish? Who touches the process? Look for any tasks that repeat or processes that are replicated by multiple teams or data that needs to be in more than one system. It takes time but can be well worth the effort.
  3. Engage with your team
    The value of insights from frontline and administrative workers can’t be overstated. Their biggest frustrations are likely good starting points for operational improvements. What’s sucking their time away from critical tasks? Engage with staff at every level and look for repeating feedback. Make sure to follow-up with your teams to keep them updated - investing in making their jobs easier is crucial to retaining your valuable staff.
  4. Automate what repeats
    Almost anything that repeats and is done manually can be automated. Automating time consuming processes that reduce referrals process times & admissions paperwork burdens as well as clinical tasks frees up valuable employees to tend to patients and residents. This can continue to help retain and attract new talent downstream.

Tasks are redundant, humans aren’t

The Industry is at a true inflection point and we believe the staffing crisis in senior care can be mitigated by employing assertive strategies that embrace efficiencies and automating tasks that don't require a human touch. By not only making the jobs of your staff easier, more time efficient, and more enjoyable, you free up their time for the critical work they’re perfectly positioned to do - care for your residents and patients.

LincWare creates innovative software solutions to streamline referrals and admissions processes for senior care organizations so they can do so much more with the resources they already have.

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