The long-term care environment can be diverse as it relates to the needs of the residents, depending on the population served. While some facilities may prioritize behavioral health treatment out of necessity to meet the needs of its patient populations, others may need to focus on treatment designed for more chronic, physical conditions.
Either way, a commitment to preventive care, and care that is viewed as maintenance for conditions, is essential in an industry that is highly cost-conscious, especially in light of recent long-term care facility closures throughout several rural areas.
It’s hard to overstate the value of preventive care in long-term care settings. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, research has shown that evidence-based preventive services can save lives and improve health by identifying illnesses earlier. When they’re identified earlier, they are managed more effectively and treated sooner, before they turn into more complicated, debilitating conditions. At that point, the cost of treatment may begin to escalate, in some cases dramatically.
In addition, the foundation noted that some services are also cost-effective.
Preventive measures don’t look the same across the industry. The Annals of Long-Term Care suggested that facilities that serve an elderly population should at the very least focus on three key areas, including:
- Prevention of brain injuries: Remove rugs, use sticky pads in the showers and baths, install grab rails and improve lighting to protect a vulnerable patient population from injuries that could be devastating.
- Conduct regular pain assessments: Implementing a system of pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic pain management, with particular attention to patients with cognitive impairments, to prevent unnecessary suffering.
- Maintenance of incontinence-related dermatitis: Evidence-based skin care practices to prevent ulcers, infections and morbidity.
In addition to those three areas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers guidance for long-term care facilities on infection prevention. Among other lessons, the COVID-19 pandemic illustrated just how vulnerable long-term care facilities are to communicable infections.
And, since statistics indicate that diabetes affects about 30% of patients in long-term care facilities, the management of that singular chronic disease is a priority in and of itself. A recent report published by Nova Southeastern University noted the vast array of factors that complicate diabetes management as patients age, from cognitive decline and mental health to infections, facility transfers, inconsistent provider information and non-standardized glucose monitoring.
As a pharmacy partner for long-term care facilities of all types, UnitedRX works with facilities to create customized solutions that lead to better outcomes for the patients being treated. From implementing cost-saving efficiencies to consulting on best practices, drug interactions and staff training, we are long-term care partners in every sense of the word.
To learn more about how a partnership with UnitedRX may provide cost savings to your long-term care facility, reach out to one of our team members.
At UnitedRX, we deliver a hometown pharmacy experience to more than 400 clients across the country. Contact us to learn more about how our approach to treatment can meet the pharmacy needs of your long-term care facility.