New Philips Tech Launch Brings Senior Living Providers Into Homes

The saying “If Mohammed won’t come to the mountain, the mountain must come to Mohammed” is increasingly applicable to the senior living industry, and technology giant Philips is launching a new product on Monday facilitating providers’ reach into private residences.

With a market penetration rate historically ranging somewhere between just 5-10%, many senior living providers are using technology to extend services outside their walls. Philips’ Community Without Walls product gives providers the ability to offer a service package to seniors who want to remain in a private residence rather than move into a community.

As increasing numbers of seniors opt to age in place, says Philips of its new program, CWW is a way to help meet the heath and wellness needs of a larger audience while simultaneously growing revenue and strengthening visibility within communities.

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“We all know senior housing does a great job of caring for people with chronic conditions, through the safety and security of those environments,” says Linda Brock, director of senior living at Philips. “[Our philosophy is,] no matter where you are, you’re still an individual who deserves care.”

Philips currently serves about a million people in their homes with its various technology-based products, such as an alert system for falls, a medication dispensing service, and various telehealth solutions. For multiple caregivers looking to coordinate care for their loved one, there’s an app for that with Philips’ CarePartners mobile.

Now, Philips is bundling those services for senior living providers to offer to seniors still living in a private home through a subscription package.

“There is certainly a movement and interest for this among for-profit providers,” says Janice Oldmeadow, director of marketing at Philips.

That’s especially true for large providers with national footprints.

“Lots of providers such as Emeritus and Brookdale have identified this as where they need to take their business,” says Brock. “It’s something customers have been asking for. It’s market demand.”

Two of the nation’s largest senior living providers, Emeritus (NYSE:ESC) and Brookdale Senior Living (NYSE:BKD), both already provide services within a certain radius of their community footprints, says Brock. “They already have the services,” she says, “and this would be integrated into what they’re offering.”

Late last year, Emeritus acquired home health agency Nurse on Call, based in Florida, thus gaining entry into the home care services space. The company has already been offering free home visit services for local seniors through its Home Visit Program, and also provides hospice care, short-stay respite care in addition to offering adult day programs.

Brookdale Senior Living (NYSE:BKD), the largest national senior housing operator, has a growing ancillary services platform that is looking into adding services such as hospice, private pay home care, and private pay case management, according to the company’s presentation at the Bank of America/Merrill Lynch’s 2013 Health Care Conference.

Another way to grow ancillary services that Brookdale co-president and CFO Mark Ohlendorf named in the presentation: taking services “outside the walls” to the community in general.

Brookdale has estimated that  there’s a 1.7 million person market within a 10-mile radius of each community in its brand in need of community-like care and services, according to a company presentation on the convergence of senior housing and healthcare.

“There is a significant market that exists for providers [similar to Brookdale’s scale],” said Oldmeadow.

It’s not just for-profits who are pursuing this trend: A 2012 Ziegler report said that 32% of of the top 100 not-for-profit senior living providers expanded the home- and community-based services they offer between 2010 and 2011, among a total 72% that report offering HCBS.

Many not-for-profit senior living providers have been reaching beyond their walls for years, Brock notes, including continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs). There are already a variety of “CCRC without walls” programs or similar offerings that expand services into the community at large.

“They have the assets, and they know how to provide great care and services inside the brick and mortar,” Brock says. “This [Community Without Walls product] is really talking about technology and how it can provide multiple touch points for providers for these consumers and their families.”

Written by Alyssa Gerace

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