The future of medicine, especially at long-term care centers like skilled nursing facilities, depends on decisive and comprehensive efforts to integrate essential technology into facility infrastructure, patient care standards, and staff practices.

For the most progressive and successful facilities, innovation should be second nature, and making technology a top priority will allow centers to meet the changing needs of residents and staff to aid in improving the care they’re able to offer to patients. Interconnectivity will be critical for future long-term care centers, so taking strides toward widespread integration and continued development now is essential.

Adapting to the Times

Many skilled nursing facilities and other long-term centers exist in buildings that were built or modeled after hospitals from over half a century ago. While the design of these facilities is not inherently ineffective, they have become outdated in infrastructure due to the minimal technology available during that time and the explosion of technological innovation and adoption within the medical field that has since occurred.

Most residents in modern long-term care centers are already familiar with technology such as smartphones and computers. Therefore, integrating these elements into your healthcare facility is an essential part of enhancing patient communication and the overall patient experience — it was also a crucial implementation due to the novel coronavirus. But enhanced care also depends on more complex medical technology as well. Innovations like five-in-one ventilators and advancements in wound care technology are all critical components to a patient’s speedy, longstanding recovery.

Facility directors cannot simply settle for the infrastructure available, they must learn to adapt so that their facilities can keep up with the desires, demands, and needs of patients and staff alike. By prioritizing the integration of essential elements of technological infrastructure, long-term care centers can not only improve the care they provide but also reduce staff turnover, increase patient attraction, and cut costs over time.

Improving Patient Quality of Care

Through the use of technology, medical staff can more accurately and effectively care for residents. Tech-enabled improvements in quality of care and life occur in various ways. From allowing facility staff to consistently and remotely monitor resident vital metrics — as well as signs of distress, communication attempts, and fall risks — to reducing the amount of time residents spend waiting for responses from their doctors, technology can promote a more attentive and proactive care experience.

As more facilities begin to prioritize a person-centered care approach, technology will play an essential role in facilitating more efficient and effective patient care. Through relevant apps (such as those that track and document physical activity or daily habits) as well as telehealth options, technology can provide residents of long-term care facilities more independence, dignity, and satisfaction.

When most senior citizens own smartphones and the world is becoming more connected with each passing day, SNFs must prioritize their advancement with technology and make immediate lasting changes. Failing to adapt to the technological standards of the world, especially in the medical field, could alienate future residents, limit the potential of care practices, and increase staff turnover rates. If long-term care centers want to meet the needs of modern patients and support continued changes for residents of the future, initiatives to become tech-centered facilities will be productive and fruitful.