Assisted Living Facilities (ALF) are senior living communities that support residents who do not need intensive care. Assisted living facilities are different from nursing homes in that they provide residents with a relatively independent life in a safe environment, though trained caregivers are still on-hand. Still, like nursing homes, they track the care they provide in an EHR or, in this case, assisted living software.
Typically, assisted living residents live in small, catered apartments maintained by the staff. There are also organized activities that allow residents to socialize, thus enriching their senior years with a better quality of life. Of course, assisted living facilities are more than just a place for seniors to live and socialize. Besides providing assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), they also support residents clinically by ensuring they take the proper medication, thus reducing potential medication problems like overdoses or forgetting to take medication.
If assisted living facilities want to support their residents effectively, they must have appropriate assisted living software that comes with clinical, financial, and operational capabilities. An effective assisted living software allows facilities to track and manage numerous tasks, such as staff training, invoice generation, staff scheduling, and reporting.
Choosing the right long term care software allows facilities to tailor their services to their residents’ needs and ensures facilities can meet the many federal and state compliance measures in long term care. Failure to comply with regulations can result in financial penalties and a loss of reputation (and income) due to a lower CMS five-star quality rating.
Using Assisted Living Scheduling Software to Meet Clinical and Compliance Measures
As mentioned above, seniors move into an assisted living community because they need assistance with ADLs, which will vary depending on the seniors and their individual needs. To track this assistance, facilities will need an effective assisted living scheduling software that has the following clinical and compliance capabilities:
- Nursing Assessments: Before a senior is admitted into an assisted living facility, they must first undertake a series of nursing assessments, where a nurse will gather critical information on a senior’s health, illnesses, allergies, and dietary requirements. After which, the data is entered and stored in the assisted living software so the nurse can analyze and determine what kind and how much ADL assistance is needed.
- Care Plan Management: A long term care nurse will create a personalized care plan for each resident following the initial assessment. The care plan details realistic and achievable goals which have been set for the resident. An effective care plan software system will aid the nurses’ planning process and typically include information on the resident’s physical and mental health and ADL needs like feeding, bathing, and toileting.
- Medication Management: As well as stating what ADL assistance is needed, a resident’s care plan will also specify what medication they need. As seniors age, they tend to take more medication as their health deteriorates. Approximately 87% of seniors (65 years or older) take some form of prescription medication. Therefore, nurses must document a resident’s medication management in the assisted living software. The best long term care EHR software will include built-in functions like ePrescribing, which sends electronic medication orders directly to pharmacies, thus reducing medication errors that are common with paper documentation.
- Compliance Measures: Assisted living facilities must regularly meet and report their regulatory obligations. State-of-the-art nursing home software systems will have built-in regulatory features like quality and compliance measures, infection control integrations, and wound care so caregivers can administer care without worrying about whether their work meets state and federal requirements.
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5 Advantages Of Assisted Living Software Solutions
As mentioned earlier, the long term care industry is heavily regulated, requiring many facility administrators to use assisted living software solutions to manage their daily activities. Below, we will highlight five advantages of using assisted living software:
1. Easier Data Handling
An assisted living facility has a vast amount of resident data to process, such as resident (service) costs, occupancy, and medication management. Therefore, the best-assisted living software will have easy-to-view tables, reports, and data configured onto a single platform. Caregivers can view resident data at a glance, thus reducing confusion and workflow interruptions because they can access the data more quickly and with less scrolling.
2. Improved Communication
Efficient long term care software systems will have an inbuilt family portal, which improves the communication between the facility, residents, and their families. It is normal for families to have questions or to want regular updates on their elderly relatives’ health conditions. Therefore, a family portal will allow for open and honest communication where facilities can send real-time messages and notifications to residents and their families.
Another area where assisted living software can improve communication is between the different departments in a facility and other healthcare providers. The best-assisted living scheduling software stores their data digitally on the cloud, making resident data much more accessible to authorized personnel. All relevant staff can access the information when needed from multiple locations, allowing them to stay updated with the latest treatments, which incidentally reduces medical errors.
3. Schedule Resident Appointments
An essential function of nursing home software is managing and maintaining residents’ data. Therefore, innovative long term care software systems will facilitate resident scheduling, enabling the management of appointments, activities, and service deliveries. This also improves the efficiency of organizing resident schedules, helps with avoiding conflicts, and gives staff the necessary tools to prepare for resident medical appointments.
4. Automate Processes
Assisted living facilities have a lot of paperwork to deal with. From medical reports to insurance papers to personalized care plans. An effective nursing home software system allows caregivers to automate their workflow processes, saving them hundreds of hours yearly.
Activities like writing notes and updating orders are incredibly time-consuming, particularly if facilities still use paper documentation. In such cases, having automated documentation processes will save a considerable amount of time while improving the accuracy of entering and tracking data.
5. Enhances Patient-Centered Care
Another advantage of automated processes is improved workflow efficiency and employee satisfaction. This is because caregivers can now spend more time providing quality care rather than performing administrative tasks. Caregivers have been given the gift of time to spend with their residents, thus, allowing them to provide more patient-centered care tailored to the resident’s individual needs.
Furthermore, it allows for more opportunities to provide holistic care, which combines healthy practices like focusing on specific diet programs and exercise. This enables residents to focus on their spiritual and mental needs, aiding treatment and improving their well-being.
Maximizing the Benefits of Assisted Living Software
With current projections of 70% of seniors (aged 65 years or older) needing long term care assistance and the aging baby boomers generation approaching retirement, there will undoubtedly be an increased need for more long term care assistance in the coming years.
To deal with this oncoming challenge, facilities must use assisted living software and its many capabilities—organization of resident information, scheduling of care appointments, billing, and ensuring compliance with regulations. Only when facilities maximize their long term care software’s full features will they be able to provide the best possible care for the increasing number of seniors.