Facility systems and technology have not been able to keep up with additional strains of pandemic workloads, according to direct care participants in a recent survey.
About 81% of health care workers, including nursing home staff, have had issues with systems and technology while caring for patients – 73% say these same systems have not been capable of handling increased pandemic workloads.
About 82% of organizations still manually document facility activity, the report said. Staff have difficulty keeping up with “accurate and recent information,” findings showed – never mind identifying areas for potential growth.
The Association of Skilled Nursing Providers, in collaboration with skilled nursing technology company Inspiren and Caring.com, a senior living referral service, surveyed 133 respondents across the care continuum.
Manual administrative duties transfer to referrals too, the survey found. Only 4% of respondents chose social media as their most common source for referrals, compared to 32% who cited in-person physician referrals.
Roughly 71% of patients use search engines as a first step to find nursing home reviews.
The majority of respondents were between the ages of 30 and 44; 33% of surveyees were in the 18 to 29 age group.
Surveyees said staff turnover, morale and infection control were the greatest concerns for health care workers; about 56% said staff morale was a high or the highest concern.
“It’s reasonable to assume that COVID-19 and the additional strain placed on healthcare professionals have left many concerned about the well-being of their staff,” according to the survey. “Intense stress and low staff morale can impact every aspect of care at a long-term care facility.”
Overall,direct care staff believe there are benefits to using technology systems in the workplace, but see “significant barriers” in using such platforms effectively, the survey confirms.
Budget constraints and a lack of innovation prioritization among leadership were two main barriers named in the survey. Available technology was deemed less likely to be adopted by those who would use it regularly if such barriers persist.
“This survey has helped us learn what solution gaps we can eliminate, making SNFs better during COVID and beyond,” Michael Wang, CEO and founder of Inspiren, said in a statement.
Survey participants recognized that an increasing elderly population also means an increasing need for “intuitive, affordable” technology to automate processes and save time.
Looking ahead, survey authors said they expect operators to embrace tech options as additional regulatory requirements and more complex operational processes run up against continued staffing issues.
“Market leaders will be those who harness the value of technology and place the necessary time and resources to become the first adopters of these solutions,” the authors wrote.