Building Long-Term Care Centers for the Future
It can be a challenge for many healthcare executives to envision how investing in their skilled nursing facilities and other long-term care centers can help them keep pace with today’s ever-changing healthcare landscape. It’s no longer good enough to build facilities that meet the industry’s present needs. Instead, executives must push themselves to be forward-thinkers so that they can plan for and design spaces that will still be relevant years from now.
This is no easy feat, of course. Leaders in healthcare are put under pressure to create new spaces and reimagining and repurposing existing spaces that can adapt to changes in technology, compliance requirements, program requirements, and, most importantly, patient needs. This last area is perhaps the most critical, as there’s finally a growing focus on patients and their families finally being recognized as healthcare consumers as the industry shifts to a value-based care model.
Executives must anticipate all of these changes, which won’t only impact a center’s day-to-day operations, but long-term plans for upgrades, expansions, or full replacement of certain equipment. Are you currently overseeing any major renovations at your long-term care center? Or are you thinking of starting any renovations within the next year? Here is how you can build a facility for the future.
Build for flexibility
Think about how much your facility and operations have changed in the last decade. Sitting here right now, it may be hard to imagine how much will change over the next decade. You can’t predict the future, but you must prepare for it as much as you can. This is why it’s so important to build for flexibility, especially when it comes to future digitization and changes to patient care. Will rooms need to be bigger to accommodate new medical equipment? What structural changes will help to enhance patient flow? These are a few things to consider as you look to upgrade your facilities. If your centers are built for flexibility, you can make necessary adjustments rather than constantly needing to make major building upgrades for every little change.
Focus on transformative services
One lesson that healthcare executives have learned from the novel coronavirus pandemic is that even our service offerings can change at a moment’s notice. There were so many healthcare facilities that weren’t equipped to handle the rapid spread of COVID-19, and these consequences were felt by staff and patients alike. Your facilities must be able to transform your service offerings, often at a moment’s notice. The centers that were able to usher in telemedicine capabilities at the onset of the pandemic, for example, were the ones that were able to maintain successful operations and keep their employees and residents safe.
Consider renovation vs. replacement options
Healthcare executives must often prioritize capital resource expenditures over others when planning for a new space. This can put a strain on the decision-making process, which is why it’s crucial to consider when to renovate a space versus when to modernize it. Renovations and expansions often use less of the budget and allotted time, but there are instances where new construction will be better for the facility in the long term. Whatever option best serves your center, it’s still important to think ahead and consider how these changes will aid in future development.
No one can predict what the future will hold, but when you create a space with your staff and your patients in mind, you build an environment that can adapt to whatever new changes the healthcare landscape brings.