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5 Advantages to Using Property Management Software in the Senior Care Market

With more players entering the rapidly growing assisted living and memory care arenas, hands-on management of care practices is more critical than ever. Having the right tools may be the difference between creating a higher, more dependable level of service and having empty rooms.

Investing in the Senior Living Market
The assisted living and memory care playing field has widened significantly in the past two years with the need for care for an aging population and investors wanting to diversify portfolios and enter a potentially lucrative field.

The National Center for Health Statistics reported that in 2012 some 58,500 paid, regulated long-term care service providers served about 8 million people in the United States. Among them were 20,000-30,000 assisted living and similar residential care communities of varying sizes and shapes.

“The investment world has figured out that the world of senior living/assisted living is a really good place to invest,” said Doug Fullaway, VP Business Development RealPage Senior Living.

Adding a senior living or memory care community offers several expansion and brand opportunities for property owners. In addition to the expected pressure for increased occupancy, a huge compliance burden exists, as well as the need to manage a brand, says Patrice Danaher, Director of Product Management, RealPage Senior Living.

“That’s becoming something that we hear so much more of in the last two years,” she said. “We see that as organizations purchase different kinds of housing options and expand their portfolio mix. For example, an affordable client adding some senior living. A traditional senior living adding memory care, or the continuing care community retirement campus, really has some brand management opportunities.”

Having the right property management tools and software focused on managing varying levels of senior care are essential, she added. Specific assessment features and workflows can help you deliver quality care while achieving targeted margins and generate reports to efficiently manage exceptions.

Addressing high turnover in assisted living with software solutions
One of the industry’s biggest challenges, Danaher says, is annual staff and resident turnover. Staff turnover is hovering around 38 percent, and she doesn’t expect that to drop much. Resident turnover is higher at 46 percent.

Such high turnover makes a person-centered-care environment a challenge to maintain, she said.

A care-focused software solution can help a community meet all the specific care needs of a resident and reduce the likelihood of turnover because of mismanagement.

“Guessing and trying to remember things won’t cut it,” she said. “There are countless things a caregiver must remember about a person and has an obligation to deliver in senior living settings.”

Following are five advantages from using property management software in the senior care market:

1. Manage Senior Care Delivery

Consistency and accuracy in task completion documentation results in quality. Generate reports to help manage exceptions to varying levels of care on an individual basis. Multiple configurable templates provide the flexibility you need to match your business policies and procedures. Also, the tool can be used to designate controls for developing and updating information as necessary. Standard times for services are included, but can be adjusted by resident or service type as needed.

2. Manage Costs Associated with Running Your Senior Community

An automated assessment tool can include a proprietary scoring method to help senior housing operators calculate their exact cost of care so they can more accurately charge for services. No more guesswork, as Danaher suggests. Knowing costs offers opportunities to capture additional revenue.

Reporting gives you drill-down capabilities, so you can have full visibility into your business, both at the community level and across the portfolio. Real-time reporting provides the analysis you need to manage business.

3. Manage Risk through Resident Screening

Resident screening, says Fullaway, is not well adopted in the assisted living world. He points to the case of three elderly ladies who moved into an assisted living facility and began dealing drugs. When it was discovered they were selling a narcotic, a subsequent record check revealed the women had been arrested before on similar charges.

“Because all ladies were on Medicaid, they couldn’t throw them out,” he said. “There was no screening done here; it’s the norm in this business. How dangerous can an 87-year-old lady be? They can be dangerous. You really need to start thinking about this. It’s not very expensive to do, and it allows you information to make a better decision,” he said.

4. Maintain Vendor and State Compliance

Software helps properties collect the necessary information needed to comply with state regulations, and generate state-specific reports in required formats. Also, vendor compliance and vendor lists can be managed.

5. Establish Benchmarks to Measure Future Performance

The assisted living and memory care industries are lean on benchmarks, so tracking performance through software is a way to establish standards for comparative analysis and helps identify trends throughout the day-to-day management of the business. Doing so can help build realistic resident histories of incidents and other factors critical to care management.

A digital software solution will help assisted living and senior living communities better manage and grow business while leaving more time to care for senior residents.

(Image source: Shutterstock)


Contributing Editor, Property Management Insider
President, Ballpark Impressions, LLC

author photo two

Tim Blackwell is a long-time publishing and printing executive in the Dallas/Fort Worth area who writes about the multifamily housing and transportation industries. He has contributed numerous articles to Property Management Insider, and worked as a newspaper reporter in the D/FW area. Blackwell is president of Ballpark Impressions, and publishes the Cowcatcher Magazine. He is a member of the Fort Worth Chapter/Society of Professional Journalists.

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