Time to Re-evaluate Assisted Living as Leader in Long-Term Care

Evaluating challenges facing the assisted living industry as opportunities is key to ushering the sector into a new era.

”Assisted living is experiencing increasing levels of frailty among its residents across providers and states, requiring greater care services and placing new demands on staff, systems, and the environment,” writes The Center for Excellence in Assisted Living (CEAL) in a recent report. CEAL is a collaborative of 11 national organizations.

”Add to these changes the impact of the Affordable Care Act on the health and long-term care system, together with the new expectations of the baby boom generation, and it is clearly time to step back and evaluate assisted living’s role as a leader in non-institutional long-term care,” CEAL says.

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Quality personnel, data, public policy and affordability are four key focus area for the future of assisted living, according to a new report.

Employee turnover is of growing concern, says CEAL, noting the challenge provides an opportunity for improving training strategies to educate and engage workers.

Limited availability of data on care outcomes in assisted living presents opportunities for innovation, quality improvement, and integration with healthcare reform efforts, CEAL says.

“Better data systems will allow assisted living providers and their associations to better communicate and share data with consumers, their families, and care partners,” the collaborative says.

There is also concern that mounting regulations will limit assisted living’s role in post-acute care.

However, regulations that reflect the core practices of assessed living, such as person-centered care and aging in place, will allow for continued innovation.

A significant challenge for the industry is also affordability.

“To make assisted living more accessible to the growing numbers of potential consumers, it should be on a comparable Medicare/Medicaid footing with nursing homes,” CEAL says, also suggesting the development of more affordable private pay models and options for middle class individuals.

The challenges and opportunities are based on a presentation by CEAL’s 2014 Symposium.

Read the report here.

Written by Cassandra Dowell

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