The Challenges and Evolution of Long-Term Healthcare During and Post-COVID-19

post covid

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a watershed moment for healthcare worldwide, pushing systems to their limits and revealing both strengths and vulnerabilities in equal measure. Among the sectors most profoundly affected by the pandemic was long-term healthcare. This piece explores the challenges faced by the long-term healthcare sector during the pandemic, the changes in the post-COVID world, the demographic shifts in the older population, and how innovative solutions like CareWatch have emerged as saviors.

The Struggle with Staffing and Daily Patient Care during COVID-19

Long-term healthcare facilities, like nursing homes and assisted living facilities, became the epicenter of the pandemic. With elderly residents who have comorbid conditions, these places became vulnerable to the virus’s devastating impact.

The most pressing challenge was staffing. The pandemic led to a sharp decline in available caregivers, driven by a combination of illness, quarantine restrictions, and fear. Many frontline workers faced unprecedented levels of stress, with some resigning due to concerns for their health or the health of their families.

This staffing crisis affected daily patient care. With fewer caregivers on hand, the standard of care dipped. Many elderly patients missed out on regular check-ups, physiotherapy sessions, or even basic nursing care, leading to a cascade of health complications.

Post-COVID: A Worsening Scenario?

As the world navigated its way out of the pandemic and embraced the “new normal,” long-term healthcare didn’t return to its pre-pandemic state. Staffing issues persisted, with many frontline caregivers opting for different professions or early retirements. The burnout from the demanding months of the pandemic coupled with the emotional toll of witnessing so much death and suffering made it difficult for many to return.

Additionally, the fear of another pandemic or the emergence of new variants made long-term healthcare a less attractive proposition for many. This decline in staffing has had a ripple effect on the quality and regularity of patient care.

The Demographic Challenge: Rise in the Older Population

Between 1920 and 2020, the older U.S. population experienced a remarkable growth, increasing by 50.9 million. This surge means that by 2020, 16.8% of the entire U.S. population was aged 65 or older, compared to just 4.7% in 1920.

Such a rapid growth rate of almost 1,000% for the older population, nearly five times that of the total population growth rate of about 200%, brings about significant challenges for the healthcare industry. The demand for long-term care facilities, skilled nursing, and geriatric services has skyrocketed, putting immense pressure on an already stressed system.

CareWatch: The Silver Lining in Long-Term Healthcare

In these demanding times, technological innovation provides a glimmer of hope. CareWatch, an advanced monitoring technology, has emerged as a game-changer. It captures real-time, accurate data, providing caregivers with invaluable insights to make better patient care decisions anytime, from anywhere. The ease of implementation and user-friendly interface of CareWatch make it a favorite among professionals.

With CareWatch, Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) becomes seamless. Using Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes, caregiver teams can effectively monitor their patients, ensuring that no crucial health change goes unnoticed.

Furthermore, CareWatch’s efficient alert system sends critical notifications straight to decision-making doctors and caregivers, regardless of their location. This level of prompt communication can make a life-saving difference, allowing for swift interventions and decisions.

Business Advantages with CareWatch

Beyond improving patient care, CareWatch offers significant business benefits:

  • Reduced Costs: By capturing early signs of health deterioration, interventions can be made promptly, avoiding hospital readmissions and long hospital stays.
  • Streamlined Billing: The use of CPT codes facilitates a smoother billing process, ensuring caregivers and facilities are adequately compensated for their services.
  • Collaborative Care: CareWatch promotes collaboration. With real-time data accessible from anywhere, teams can come together, discuss, and decide on the best course of action for their patients.

In conclusion, while the challenges faced by long-term healthcare during and post-COVID have been significant, innovations like CareWatch present a beacon of hope. By embracing technology and its potential, the sector can not only recover but also thrive, offering the older population the quality care they deserve.