Future Planning and Change Management in Long-Term Care Practice Operations Research Paper

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Future Planning & Change Management in Longterm Care Practice Operations

Future Planning and Change Management in Long-Term Care Practice Operations

Long-term care is one of the most significant issues for people to consider as they age. On the other side of the coin are the people who work in and manage the long-term care facilities. They are finding that they need to focus on making those facilities the best quality and the most efficient for the patients and the staff. Future planning has to be considered for these long-term care operations, and that means that change management has to be addressed. The main reason for future planning and change management in long-term care facilities is not due to the fact that the model for their business has to change. Instead, it is due to the fact that there will soon be an influx of people needing this kind of care. Baby boomers are aging now, and the U.S. population as a whole is aging. That means the future offers more people who are older and needing the care of those who are younger and able to provide that care. While not every aging person is going to need care in a long-term facility, many of them will.

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That is both the beauty and the curse of people living so much longer today than they did in the past - they get more time, but they also get more time to struggle with failing minds and bodies. Because of the growth in the aging population, managers of long-term care facilities should begin now to make plans for the future. If they wait until they already have a huge influx of new people who need care, they will not be in any kind of position to care for those people and will need to turn away aging people who have nowhere else to go. That would be highly unfortunate, and is something that can be avoided with future planning and a commitment to the value of change management.

Nursing Facilities

Research Paper on Future Planning and Change Management in Long-Term Care Practice Operations Assignment

Nursing facilities - also called nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities - are among the most common final destinations for elderly people who cannot care for themselves (Anderson & Anderson, 2001; Johnson, 2003; Judd, 2009; Snodgrass, 2004). Often, relatives try to care for these people. That can work well in some cases, but in many cases the care of the ailing, elderly person simply becomes too much. Not every caregiver relishes the idea of putting his or her loved one in a nursing home, but sometimes there is nothing else that can safely be done. A nursing facility is set up to give round-the-clock care to patients who are no longer able to care for themselves and who are not safe at home with someone else caring for them (Anderson & Anderson, 2001). That could be because of mental health issues such as dementia, or because of physical needs that just realistically cannot be met in a home setting. Regardless of any of that, nursing homes are among the long-term care facilities that must begin to prepare for a larger number of residents in the near future.

There are various ways in which this can be done. Reorganization of existing space may be possible, but the nursing facility may also want to entertain the idea of expanding or of building a newer, larger facility. Many nursing homes throughout the country are already at capacity and they have to turn people away. They have a waiting list. Those lists of people waiting to get into nursing homes is going to grow exponentially within the next few years, and only nursing homes that are well-prepare for that are going to be able to move forward, increase their profits, and still be able to help those in need. Dynamic leadership will be required for these nursing homes because of the size of them and the speed at which they will need to expand in order to see success (D'Antonio, 2010; Dossey, Keegan, & Guzzetta, 2000). Planning ahead is far more important and necessary than fighting to catch up at a later date.

Assisted Living Facilities

Another long-term care option that will be rapidly expanding will be assisted living facilities. These are a step down from nursing homes when it comes to how much care the person gets. There is much more privacy, as well, but yet the residents still get help with their medications and other daily life issues. There are usually different complexes or apartments where they can get different levels of care. That can allow a resident to stay in the same facility for a long time, even as his or her health declines and needs begin to change. These facilities are going to be the ones that are hit the hardest, because many of the aging baby boomers will end up in them before they get to the stage where they need a nursing home (Kotter, 2011; Marshak, 2005). Future planning is not a luxury for these facilities. It is an absolute necessity. If they fail to plan for what is going to take place in the future, they will be much more prepared.

While it is not possible to plan for every eventuality, it is possible to study the issue and address trends that will be occurring. Additionally, it is possible to consider the area of change management, so that there is flexibility in the future plans (Chin, 2008; Phillips, 1983; Saltman, Duboi, & Chawla, 2006). Managing any type of facility that involves caring for people who are losing or have lost the ability to care for themselves is a stressful and highly important endeavor. It is made more complicated by the changes that are taking place in society with the aging population, and it is also made more complicated by an aging infrastructure and a struggling economy. However, economic or other issues cannot be allowed to affect the care that is given to the people who come to stay at the facilities. Change management and future planning must take into account the individuals who need the help, and how they are going to continue to receive that help. More need is a good thing for profit, but not a good thing for facilities that are already at or near capacity.

Senior Housing

Before aging seniors end up in an assisted living facility or a nursing facility, many of them go to senior housing. They are able to live on their own at that point, but they often have very little money. They also often do not drive, and must rely on public transportation to get around to doctors appointments and to get groceries. Not all seniors will live in this low income housing, but there is currently a much greater demand for it than the apartments that are available. With the growing elderly population, it is very clear that the need for senior housing will grow (Dossey, Keegan, & Guzzetta, 2000; Snodgrass, 2004). More of these complexes are needed, and they are actually needed now. However, the funding for them is an issue, because they do not bring in much money. They are generally rent-subsidized, so individuals who live there pay very little for rent each month. When they do not pay much rent, there is no real return on investment for the senior housing complex itself, and that is a financial concern.

Future planning issues for senior housing include building more complexes, but there has to be a way to do this inexpensively. Currently, that way has not been found, but that is an issue that should be addressed as soon as possible. If managers try to wait until the demand increases again, it will be too late because it takes time to build and furnish these complexes for seniors to live and be safe and protected. The grants and loans that are needed are things that should be addressed in the present day. The future is very important, but securing that future now is one of the ways that people can continue to build on what has been done in the past. The country has never experienced this type of age related boom before, so it is difficult for those who operate care facilities of any kind that are designed for the elderly to be certain what move they should make next.

The Evolution of Long-Term Care

Long-term care has already experienced many of the facets of change management, because it has gone from nothing but nursing homes to assisted living facilities of all different types and care levels. The mission of what it means to care for the elderly has changed and is still changing, but it is likely that the mission and vision will both have to change again to accommodate all the aging baby boomers (Anderson & Anderson, 2001). That may mean better care, but there is a possibility that it will not mean anything but a bigger struggle for a larger number of people.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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