Aligning Senior Housing and Healthcare: A Toolkit

Aligning Senior Housing and Healthcare: A Toolkit
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This toolkit is designed as a guide for affordable senior housing providers and other stakeholders like researchers and policymakers. It provides a synopsis of how changes in the nation’s healthcare system are creating opportunities for collaboration between senior housing providers and healthcare providers, and helps senior housing providers understand the ways they can help healthcare providers to better serve seniors. In addition to practical advice on how to find a partner and execute a successful partnership, the toolkit provides background on the changing health policy landscape and guidance on how a partnership between health and housing organizations can improve health outcomes. As an increasing numbers of adults choose to “age in place,” housing providers are recognizing that connections with healthcare services will help older residents more successfully age in their buildings, as well as improve broader healthcare delivery and efficiency.

Major findings:

  • If they work together, healthcare providers and affordable senior housing providers can better manage chronic illnesses, ensure smooth transitions between acute care settings and home, minimize hospital re-admissions, and reduce the pressure of the healthcare system’s “super-users” who make use of the most expensive services.
  • Older adults are a target population of health reform, and their concentration in senior housing facilities can give healthcare providers streamlined access to this population, especially “super-users” of healthcare.
  • Improved access to seniors can improve medical compliance and avoid the disruption and costs associated with health emergencies.
  • Senior housing facilities are an ideal location to perform medical checks and other meetings like health education classes. A health clinic or medical office may even be strategically located inside a housing development.
  • Housing providers have the potential to be a critical link in the healthcare delivery system by addressing the social determinants of health. Education programs focusing on topics such as chronic disease management, nutrition and other lifestyle issues can meet the social needs of patients that often lead to poor health and that doctors have difficulty addressing.
  • Housing staff can act as an extension of a medical team in managing and delivering services to "super-users" in residence, by advising residents about the appropriate use of health services as well as addressing barriers to care.

Practical guidance:

  • How to create a successful partnership: types of services, delivery mechanisms, and funding.
  • Examples of good health-housing partnerships.
  • How to identify and cultivate a partner.
  • How to structure and implement a successful partnership.