While the slow return to pre-pandemic normalcy comes with the promise of familiar healthcare functionality, permanent changes are also part of the post-COVID skilled nursing facility (SNF) market. From increased demand for agile care practices to the performance improvements that come with robust telehealth solutions1, navigating the “next normal” demands a new approach from SNFs at scale.
Here’s a look at five top SNF trends in a post-pandemic world.
1. Enhanced Practice Flexibility
Both supply and third-party provider chains were significantly impacted2 as the Coronavirus shifted from a regional issue to a worldwide pandemic. SNFs were suddenly faced with performance and partnership challenges as necessary supplies and skilled staff were in short supply, even as demand for top-quality care rapidly increased.
While new vendors and evolving best practices have emerged to help stabilize supply issues, we are seeing that SNFs are faced with the challenge to become flexible. From potential second or third waves of current crisis concerns to another worldwide pandemic event, practice flexibility is emerging as one of the pillars for a strong foundation for SNF success.
2. Improved Process Functionality
While familiar processes and legacy tools were often enough to meet care standards and empower staff to complete key tasks, COVID, many SNFs were forced to close temporarily or shut down permanently3 as existing issues became overwhelming to manage.
As a result, we advise SNFs to prepare for rapid process pivots by identifying key areas of concern, prioritizing care-based value, and reducing total complexity to increase overall agility.
3. Building Proactive Practitioner Frameworks
Skilled nursing practitioners are in demand as SNFs look to bolster expertise and improve patient outcomes. This need is largely driven by compliance concerns. With over 40% of all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. linked to nursing homes4, regulatory oversight is on the rise.
Developing proactive practitioner frameworks can anticipate the need for post-pandemic staff increases, address compliance concerns around facility management at their source and adapt to employ flexible hiring solutions that balance budgets without sacrificing care.
4. Respecting Patient Freedom
While high-quality therapy within SNFs has been shown to reduce the length of short-term stays and improve overall outcomes5, many patients are now understandably reluctant to move from their homes to SNFs.
From increased availability of telehealth options to concerns over facility processes and practices, SNFs may want to establish reciprocal relationships with patients and their families and consider providing ample evidence that facility operations meet (or exceed) both state and federal health standards.
5. Implementing Prescriptive Priorities
Pre-COVID, patient data was a beneficial resource for SNFs. Post-pandemic, it’s invaluable.6 From tracking potential problems to gaining an increased understanding of patient needs to compiling complete compliance documentation, SNFs will require purpose-built data analytics tools capable of delivering prescriptive insight at scale.
Embracing the Change
In a post-COVID market, SNFs are eager to get back to business as usual, but must also account for permanent changes to process, practitioner, and patient care best practices.
Want to learn more? Download our e-book — 5 SNF Trends for a Post-Pandemic World — for a deeper exploration of these trends and the future of skilled nursing facilities.
- Fierce Healthcare, “Trump signs executive order to expand telehealth, boost rural health care,” Aug 3, 2020.
- Annals of Internal Medicine, “Health Care Supply Chains: COVID-19 Challenges and Pressing Actions,” May 5, 2020.
- dcist, “The Skilled Nursing Facility at UMC Closed Due to Coronavirus. Now It’s Shutting Down Permanently,” July 7, 2020.
- The New York Times, “More Than 40% of U.S. Coronavirus Deaths Are Linked to Nursing Homes,” July 30, 2020.
- White E, Kosar M, Rahman M, Mor V, “Trends In Hospitals And Skilled Nursing Facilities Sharing Medical Providers, 2008-16,” August 2020.
- Martin T, “SNFs Need Real-Time Data to Succeed,” May 2019.