Long-term care could relieve its ongoing occupancy pressures by dabbling more in speciality care, one technology vendor recommended in its 2019 outlook.

Gazing into the crystal ball, Austin-based Cantata Health made its five biggest predictions for the field in a white paper last week. The software and health records company said it expects to see continued strain on skilled nursing occupancy rates in 2019, which will push more facilities into addressing other issues such as diabetes, obesity, mental health and opioid addiction.

“As the long-term care industry shifts from volume to value-based care, we predict SNFs that provide specialized care will have a higher likelihood for sustainability,” they wrote. “But, it’s not going to be easy.”

The firm urges SNFs to carefully catalogue residents and their conditions and consider designating beds for a particular patient population. It also suggests reaching out to referral partners to gauge whether they are seeing increases in term types of incidents or conditions. It’s important to better understand which strategies, philosophies, and unit designs that best fit both their current staff makeup and resident communities, Cantata experts said.

Cantata also lists four other predictions for 2019: A greater emphasis on accurate coding will require SNFs to invest in staff training and enablement; provider burnout, heightened by technology, will begin to decrease; facilities will need to find new ways to engage families; and data-driven decision-making will increase in importance.