As we look ahead to the coming year, the long-term care (LTC) industry faces a complex landscape rife with challenges. The convergence of factors such as the aging Baby Boomer population, a persistent shortage of trained staff, economic uncertainties, and the ongoing threat of COVID-19 demands careful consideration from healthcare leaders, employees, and families involved in LTC.
Let’s explore the key long-term care trends in LTC facilities that we can anticipate:
Tackling Staff Shortages in LTC
The most pressing issue that continues to plague the LTC sector is the scarcity of skilled professionals available. The industry needs more people to care for an expanding population. This includes residents with specialized needs. Each day, nearly 10,000 Americans celebrate their 65th birthday, and life expectancy is steadily increasing. By 2030, the senior population is expected to double, coinciding with a predicted global shortage of 13 million nurses (International Council of Nurses).
To address this challenge, LTC facilities must adopt innovative approaches to recruit and retain staff. This includes offering competitive salaries, enhancing benefits packages, exploring creative recruitment strategies, and integrating technology solutions to support patient care. For instance, SkillGigs is a valuable resource for identifying and securing top talent and administrative staff. The talent marketplace will ensure LTC facilities remain adequately staffed.
Navigating Economic Uncertainties
Managing tight budgets is a longstanding concern for LTC leaders, but the need to stretch resources further in the face of a potential economic downturn demands heightened fiscal acumen. Predictions indicate health system expenses will rise by nearly $135 billion in 2023 (Forrester Research). LTC facilities already grapple with financial pressures stemming from escalating labor costs, staffing challenges, supply chain disruptions, and inflation. Many have relied on government assistance to stay afloat, but as these lifelines diminish, some may face closure.
To weather these financial storms, LTC leaders must seek cost-saving measures across all departments, including human resources. Automating HR and payroll processes can be a strategic move to save both time and money.
Prioritizing Employee Wellness in LTC
Recognizing the toll of burnout and stress on healthcare workers, LTC facilities are placing a renewed focus on employee well-being. Google searches for “calling in sick” are at a five-year high, underscoring the importance of addressing this issue (Frank Recruitment Group). To provide quality patient care, long-term care organizations must ensure the physical and mental health of their staff.
This entails fostering a workplace culture where employees are empowered and rewarded for their contributions, along with offering benefits like flexible scheduling, childcare support, and concierge services to help them maintain a healthy work-life balance. Platforms like SkillGigs can assist in measuring and tracking employee engagement, as well as soliciting feedback to better cater to staff’s unique needs and goals.
Embracing Technological Advancements
The long-term care industry will continue to witness the integration of technology in various facets of operations, communication, and service delivery. Leveraging technology, such as virtual communication and cloud-based tools, is pivotal in connecting with the next generation of senior prospects. These tech trends extend to recruitment efforts, resume management, talent quality assessment, and employee engagement and benefits management.
In this rapidly evolving landscape, LTC facilities can rely on SkillGigs to equip themselves with the necessary manpower to tackle the challenges of 2023 and beyond.
In summary, the future of the LTC industry is marked by both daunting challenges and opportunities for innovation. To succeed, LTC facilities must adopt forward-thinking strategies. This includes staffing solutions, financial resilience, employee well-being, and the integration of technology. Staying adaptable and responsive to changing circumstances will be key to delivering exceptional care to the aging population.