Looking ahead: Will you become a resident?
In what will feel like a few short years from now, many of us reading this post may find ourselves being signed into a skilled nursing facility by our loved ones. That's right - the reality is that many of us down the road may very well become a resident at one of the facilities we currently service.
We should always work under the premise “what if this were me or a loved one?” Many years ago, during my initial visit to a skilled nursing facility, my trade as a vendor brought me through the halls. I saw so many vulnerable and frail patients, yet I'll admit I was occupied with my career and how I could help my companies' bottom line.
Now when I am in a SNF for work-related business or to visit a loved one, I find myself changed. Now, I imagine myself in the same beds I pass by. As I've grown older, I can easily picture how it will be and what it will feel like. Do you do the same? If you don't, how may doing this impact your company?
We should ask: What do we need to accomplish now to steer the industry and voice our opinions for regulations in a direction we can look back at and be proud of?
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) projects that, absent aggressive intervention, the supply of nurses in America will fall 36% below requirements by the year 2020. That's more than a million nurses. More nurses, in addition to nursing aides, are clearly needed to beef up the staffing ranks. It's a rocky road we are on between Medicare cuts, Obamacare and private insurance companies squeezing long term care administration from every direction.
What can we do as an industry to promote nursing as a career? What can we do to encourage our young men and women to pursue the medical field?
While we are working, with many of us in leadership positions, this is the time to plant the seeds in all the myriad ways each of us in our distinct specialties can contribute to continually make SNF's better. New ideas, improved products, adequate staffing needs and advanced care methods combine to thoughtfully create an environment we may very well call home in the future.
Michael DeFrancesco is president of First Wave Products, creators of First Crush and whose parent company, First Wave Technologies, Inc., works with leading research institutions and universities to develop next generation medical technologies.