The process of admitting a new resident, even for smaller senior living operators, can become a nightmare. Who hasn’t heard stories of lost resident authorization forms, or unsigned ancillary costs forms that end up costing thousands of dollars in uncollected payments or, worse yet, land a community in a legal dispute?

The fact is that the number and complexity of admissions documents continues to increase. And, as a senior living community grows and expands, the potential for errors and other issues increases as well.

The sheer volume of documentation alone becomes challenging to manage. How challenging? Let’s look at some numbers. 

If a senior living community conducts 1,000 move-ins per year, across 10 communities, with an average of 20 documents per move in, that’s a total of 20,000 documents. Now let’s assume that community begins to grow. What was originally a portfolio of 10 locations grows to 15, then 20 and so forth. And let’s say some of these communities cross over state boundaries. That means more state-specific documents. So with every added location, comes the added potential for confusion, errors and increased risk.

And yet, many communities with expanding portfolios continue to handle the extremely sensitive admissions process manually, on paper. Is this a problem? Yes, and here’s why:

  • No centralized storage / access: Without central oversight and vetting of documents, you are almost certain to be missing a key document or using an incorrect document. If each community keeps its own documents, you will have multiple people maintaining multiple documents. Between filing cabinets, drawers and spreadsheets, a lot can happen to a document.
  • Poor version / change control: How can you be certain that old documents have been taken out of circulation? How do you know each community is using the most updated version? The more e-mailed version updates you send out, across multiple communities, the more likely a large number will be missed or ignored. Sales may simply opt to cut corners and photocopy old forms, which by then could be several versions outdated. They may not care, but an auditor will. Inaccurate documents open your community to risk.
  • Lack of coordination across state lines: As you know, regulations and policies can vary dramatically across state lines. Documents such as residents’ rights, escalation policies, pet policies and more need to be separated out by community and kept up to date.
  • No visibility over process: At any given time, across all your communities, do you know what and / or who is holding up any given form? Once those forms go out the door, how do you know they are being reviewed, let alone signed and returned. Lack of visibility means your sales team has to manually track down the paperwork. That takes time and effort. What would you rather have them engaged in?
  • No process analysis: How do you make your process flow more smoothly? What documents tend to derail the move-in? Why are some sales counselors able to move certain documents through the process more efficiently than others? This is especially important for operators with multiple properties. You need to be able to benchmark and establish a successful model for admissions. Without automated reporting, you are operating in the dark.

All of these issues together, multiplied by hundreds of locations, can create a real nightmare for growing senior living communities. More documents, especially across state lines, increase the potential for errors. That means increased risk. The bottom line is more confusion and a frustrated staff.

So when should you start looking at automating your admissions process? If you are seeking steady, profitable growth for your organization, you are better off automating your admissions process now, not after you have 30+ communities to organize.

Digital admissions platforms such as Admit+ are saving communities thousands of dollars each month by centralizing documents, creating error-proof entry, streamlining processes and helping to create a risk-free admissions process.

In Part 4, we will be discussing some simple steps you can take to help get your documents under control. (See Parts 1 and 2 below.)

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