Nicole Kostelc headshot
Nicole Kostelc
Nicole Kostelc headshot
Nicole Kostelc

There currently are 14 million Americans in long-term care, and that number is expected to double by 2050 as the baby boomer generation — those born between 1946 to 1964, during the post–World War II baby boom — ages.

Not only is it one of the largest adult generations in the United States, encompassing more than 70 million people, but baby boomers also are reportedly living longer than previous generations yet suffering from more chronic health problems, such as arthritis and dementia.

Members of this generation are known for their independent nature and strong work ethic, traits expected to carry into their long-term care stays, including prioritizing customized care. As more baby boomers enter their advanced years, there will be an increase in demand for long-term care to meet their specific functional, medical and social needs, with the potential for providers to reach unprecedented levels of occupancy.

Because the transition to senior living can be daunting for new residents, communities must ensure that they’re providing the safest, most accurate and appropriate services for all people upon move-in. The pharmacy provider is one of a community’s best safety nets, promoting medication use that minimizes the risk of adverse medication-related events. Implementing an efficient onboarding process and offering a dedicated resident care team can help community staff care for a higher number of residents and maintain adequate, individualized care for each person.

Structured and centralized onboarding experiences that allow pharmacists to focus on service, making new residents feel comfortable and at ease, should be prioritized. Omnicare, for instance, uses several tools during facility integration in an effort to ensure a consistent and thorough onboarding process. One such tool is Omniview, Omnicare’s hands-on web-based platform, which aims to make managing pharmacy services easy and convenient for facility staff, including both clinical and business users. By doing so, staff members can spend less time dealing with complicated systems and more time providing exceptional care for their residents.

A pharmacy provider with a strong team of consultant pharmacists and clinical leaders is critical in preparing for the anticipated influx of more residents. To adapt to the dynamic long-term care landscape, community staff must have access to up-to-date resources and information provided from a reliable source. Toward this end, long-term care pharmacy organizations like Omnicare must maintain a pulse on the every-changing healthcare arena to ensure that our staff are providing quality and person-centered care to all residents.

As the industry itself expands, so will communities. In a rapidly evolving industry, how can long-term care facilities prepare for the influx of baby boomer residents? Here are some suggestions:

  • Provide stability and uniformity in care delivery processes: Because many residents will enter long-term care facilities for the first time in coming years, it’s important for communities to create a baseline for services, to measure and ensure consistent, high-quality care and services.
  • Embrace innovation and modernity: Communities should continue to incorporate new technology practices into care, helping to streamline efficient pharmacy services. Allowing caregivers to focus on the resident and administration to focus on systems will improve occupancy efficiency.
  • Emphasize collaboration: Communities across the country will be dealing with the same challenges. Moving forward by collaborating with partners such as Omincare allows positive practices to be shared, helping communities expand with the growing industry to better serve the older adults of today and tomorrow.

Community leadership also needs to be prepared for the increasing levels of health needs that we are seeing in the assisted living sector and have programming in place that focuses on overall wellness, health management and preventive medicine to support their residents, especially during the initial transition to a new level of care.

The baby boomer generation will continue its trail-blazing nature within long-term care facilities, craving independence and wanting involvement in their treatment options. Facilities will need to adjust their care and services to the wishes of incoming residents, prioritizing customization and individual needs. I can tell you that from the moment a resident enters one of our facilities, Omnicare is committed to ensuring that residents are receiving individualized and specialized care and starting their stays on the right path forward.

Nicole Kostelc is senior manager of clinical support services for Omnicare.

The opinions expressed in each McKnight’s Senior Living marketplace column are those of the author and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Senior Living.

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