Maintaining a senior living organization that is successful and efficient is challenging enough during times of market stability but can become daunting when faced with periods of unprecedented economic uncertainty.

Regardless of the challenges that exist for operators and providers, residents rightly expect a community that they call home to continue delivering on its promise of offering peace-of-mind in a safe and enjoyable environment regardless of any shifts in the marketplace.

As a sector dedicated to providing residents with high-quality care, senior living also offers a wide range of programs, services and amenities for residents to maintain active and fulfilling lifestyles. As many community leaders are aware, adhering to such commitments can be easier said than done when uncertainty brings a significant reduction or stretching of labor and revenue resources. When faced with so many pressing priorities, each vying for the attention and resources needed, it certainly is fair to ask: How can operators continue to balance resident care and the stability in their portfolios when external or internal factors seemingly appear to limit their abilities to fully achieve both? 

Fortunately, the answer to this issue can be found throughout a community’s wealth of performance-related data. When data are promptly and accurately entered to maintain data integrity, the data then must be analyzed to provide operators with the vital intelligence they need to make critical decisions to stabilize and grow the success of the business. The key to unlocking such valuable information lies with technologies that can provide instant and timely insight into every level of an organization.

Facing the challenges

During a time of uncertainty, it undoubtedly can feel as if every task or need is of the highest priority with little room for compromise. Within the area of clinical responsibilities alone, communities must balance ensuring essential supplies are available and monitoring ongoing resident care, medication management, incident reports, assessments and changes to state policies and federal regulations. With clinical staffing challenges, a health and wellness director could lean on technology to assist with many of the functions within the department that would accelerate the completion of many tasks.

Considering the effect that occupancy has had on revenue, a strategic pivot for marketing is crucial. Ensuring that the right metrics are in place and are being measured and then communicated will help guide efforts while managing the marketing budget. Creativity with virtual tours, tracking conversions and maintaining effective lead generation, as well as the timely reporting of move-ins and move-outs, are essential elements for success.

Maintaining sound fiscal management without efficient software to ease creating and revising budgets, accounts payable and receivables along with AR aging and resident account management no longer is an option for any organization. Innovative technology and software solutions can ease the burden of what are normally time-consuming tasks.

Coupled with these challenges, operators can further find themselves overwhelmed with additional requirements to ensure sufficient staffing ratios along with relevant payroll, oversight of time and attendance, scheduling, recruiting needs along with social programming, life safety, dining experience, maintenance and other tasks needed to provide a safe, stable and enjoyable community.

Innovative technology offers senior living professionals the opportunity to rely on push notifications through mobile applications that provide prompt insight to determine what arising needs should be handled more swiftly. Perhaps recent data demonstrate an increasing demand for direct care staff, whereas a decrease has been observed in the lack of need for amenity upkeep.

Revenues currently being used toward nonessentials could be reallocated to purchasing additional clinical supplies, which can be expected to increase in demand and strain existing inventories. It is by being able to review data that have been transformed into actionable insights that operators can make such informed decisions while sidestepping the risk of taking reactionary measures. There always will be uncertainties, but with a plan in place for overall data management, business intelligence across departments and communities can bring value to a portfolio.

Moving beyond uncertainty

Collecting vital data across departments and communities within a portfolio is only a part of the battle in achieving effective direction during uncertain periods.

With the sheer mass of data that can be generated by systems for just one department on a daily basis, along with the rapid speed with which priorities or market environments suddenly can change, it becomes easily apparent that manually gathering and sifting through analytics in a timely manner is impractical. Time is a limited resource as it is, and it is even more limited when a crisis occurs.

Ensuring business intelligence brings value and drives decisions

With so many moving parts and an evolving market, keeping up with trends, key performance indicators and benchmarks can be a challenging responsibility that requires ensuring that data are accurate, gathered, analyzed and reported with enough time to make proactive decisions. More operators and providers are finding that they simply can’t do it all. With the current labor crisis and limited time for administrative tasks within communities, today’s latest business intelligence software can accomplish gathering and consolidating data without the need to rely on staff involvement.

Such tools will eliminate the uncertainty regarding the if and when data will be collected, consolidated and structured to analyze their reports. Operators can retrieve precise analytics in a way that is easily digestible and relevant to specific benchmarks and business initiatives.

Although periods of uncertainty can be unavoidable for any business, that does not mean that senior living communities are left rudderless in being able to steer toward greater resident satisfaction, financial stability and company growth. Each location sits on its own roadmap of historical performance data that can serve as a crucial guide in determining what necessary actions to take and when they should be taken to ensure continued success.

Operators do not have to sink in the uncertainty, but instead can rise above the challenges by adopting the technology that is available to move their portfolios forward in a more efficient manner, leaning on their purpose-driven data as the source to their critical decision-making abilities.