In a recent article from SeniorHousingNews.com, Jim Janicki sums it up this way: “We’ve seen the acuity go up consistently for the past ten years, but now it’s getting to the point that for some of us, we’re running mini-hospitals.” Janicki is the senior director of marketing at Riverside Health System’s Lifelong Health Division, and he undoubtedly speaks for countless senior care communities when it comes to the rising acuity levels of residents.
Acuity (in the healthcare context) is defined as the level of severity of an illness; individuals with higher acuity need more specialized care – and more of it.
In assisted living and other senior care settings, providers are facing this change on a daily basis, “and it’s causing them to revisit their staffing and services to ensure they’re able to provide adequate care,” says the article.
The care needs of a typical assisted living resident today vary greatly based on acuity levels; for example, one individual may need minimal assistance with ADLs (activities of daily living) because of a recent dementia diagnosis, another may need help transferring from a bed to the bathroom because of a terminal illness that has limited mobility and the ability to provide self-care.
While today we have the benefit of options beyond just nursing homes or hospitals when seniors require care, providers must consider the risks as an increasing number of residents come in with more complex care needs.