Lessons Healthcare Can Learn from Senior Care

By Ginna Baik, Strategic Business Development Executive for Long Term Care, CDW Healthcare

Healthcare is transforming and all of us play a role in the collective vision of what we want healthcare to be. This starts with a better understanding of each other, both within the broad healthcare system of care providers and between the collaboration and input of today’s diverse patient.

My perspective on healthcare comes through the lens of senior care, which at the moment is undergoing growing pains and immeasurable change when it comes to its evolution. From the uptick in Baby Boomers, to the increasing pressures to capture data and justify care, to technology adoption itself, senior care often looks to those in healthcare who have navigated the waters before. But sometimes we forget that we all can, and should, learn from each other. So what can senior living, home health and other senior care communities share with their hospital and acute care counterparts? In this first part of a two-part blog series, I look at lessons senior care can share with hospitals and health systems. The final part will focus on lessons hospitals and acute care can teach senior care.

Part I: Lessons Senior Care Can Share with Hospitals and Health Systems

Person-centric care

As healthcare as a whole is putting an ever-greater focus on personalized medicine, providers can look to senior care as an example of how caregivers and staff emphasize the importance of knowing the whole person. Senior care has always taken a holistic approach, going beyond the physical care needs of a person to understand the emotional care components as well.

Compassionate care

I am not suggesting that healthcare as a whole is not providing compassionate care, but I do think senior care has a different emphasis that can be insightful for the acute care space. Because for seniors this is the later part of their life, senior care providers embrace the goal of really hearing the resident, and trying to understand how to make this time the most enjoyable so they can experience the highest quality of life. In achieving their own goals of compassionate care, hospitals and clinic providers have the opportunity to look to senior care’s approach.

Understanding the full picture

As the health system further integrates to truly achieve a seamless continuum of care, health system and clinic providers would benefit from getting the perspective of senior care communities. Because senior care clinicians treat residents who often have multiple chronic, and sometimes complicated, conditions, they understand how essential it is to know each resident’s full health and care history and the struggles required to piece it all together.

A focus on living

Why don’t senior care providers want to be referred to as long-term care? Because the focus in senior care communities is on living and how to make quality of life the best it can be. Providers know that social factors are a huge determinant of longevity, and are always assessing and integrating the social aspects of managing care into their plan.

The real purpose of technology

With technology adoption comes great opportunity, but also greater responsibility. For senior care providers, if technology is hard to use and interferes with care, or isolates them from residents, it’s not effective. Senior care can serve to remind healthcare as a whole that at the end of the day, harnessing technology is about people.

By the same token, hospitals, acute care clinics and broad health systems have faced the pressures of growing regulation and accountability, and have begun to crack the code on harnessing technology for the trifecta of better care outcomes, lower costs and strengthened security. So what lessons can senior care learn from them? 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ginna

Ginna Baik, Strategic Business Development Executive for Long Term Care, CDW Healthcare. Ginna has a passion for building new business solutions that make a difference.  She has maintained her focus on senior living as one of the last frontiers where the digital divide still exists, from end users to enterprise.  Her goal is to connect senior living to CDW’s technology solutions – a big opportunity for everyone involved.