Due to the rising demand for bespoke care services for chronic conditions like dementia, and the changing market dynamic that favours upmarket holistic packages, there is a need for restructuring assisted living amenities across the board.
Shift from condition to person-centric models
Elderly mental health care homes need to note that, while the number of dementia cases is estimated to rise to over 2 million by 2050, the impressive spending power of the “grey pound” is being directed towards specific types of care home providers in the UK. According to recent trends, the UK’s older generations, many of whom own a 500,000 net worth of property, are choosing to down-size and opt for upmarket residential care settings proffering customized care services for diverse aspirational lifestyles. For instance, while individuals with specific medical conditions like arthritis or multiple co-morbidities such as dementia, depression, and hypertension must be treated with evidence-based practices and QIPP-lead approaches, individual differences must be taken into account. Disease-oriented care planning is not enough to meet the complex needs of residents; rather, their routine must be tailored to their personalities, preferences, values, and goals.
Combine forces of MDTs and TECS
Despite insufficient funding, industry-wide inefficiencies, and an understaffing ratio of 1 in 11 vacant NHS posts, the care market value attributable to residential care is over 60%, and by 2020 the demand for elderly care beds is predicted to outpace supply by 75,000. Therefore, to maintain a relationship-oriented culture, where competent healthcare workers are inspired and not overburdened, care home companies in the UK need to recruit specialized multidisciplinary teams and integrate Technology Enabled Care Services. For example, telehealth technologies allow for the remote monitoring of blood pressure and other vital signs, while wearable sensors record physiological developments without the need for constant physical monitoring and invasion of residents’ privacy. According to the NHS framework for Enhanced Health in Care Homes, MDTs are crucial for providing expert backup and coordination for health and social care professionals.
Leveraging smart home technologies
The older generation is the fastest-growing community in the UK, with the number of citizens over 85 estimated to double in less than a decade. However, these purveyors of the “silver pound”, worth 300 billion economic contributions, are keen on avoiding the clinical “straitjacket” of hospitalized environments and prioritize a warm, welcoming, and empowering culture. Therefore, the two essential care elements of a hazard-free environment and home-like atmosphere should not be mutually exclusive. The best dementia care homes preserve both safety and dignity, for instance, by combining non-obtrusive telecare systems and mHealth apps with ergonomic comfort, the sensory tranquillity of garden spaces, and pieces of home.
Harnessing centralized information systems
AI-powered database management systems can be implemented for the quintessential role of coordinating real-time resident statistics and case information between healthcare and social commissioners, GPs, registered nurses, pharmacies, NHS Trusts, hospitals, and care homes. This boosts emergency responsiveness, protects patients from medicines with high-risk side-effects, reduces medicinal wastage, and cuts down on repetitive bureaucratic processes.
Collaborative system-wide engagement
Studies indicate that one of the biggest vulnerabilities of the UK’s care system is the fragmented approach between different industrial players, such as hospitals, social care authorities, medical practitioners, and national bodies like the VCSE. According to the NHS, it is necessary to establish a framework that endorsees shared responsibilities and streamlined approaches for care processes, with a focus on quality improvement and holistic, person-centric projects. Such partnerships can help enhance efficiency in addressing health conditions and improving the overall quality of life for older residents, for example, by improving adherence to national screening programs and coordinating “reablement” procedures.