October 19, 2022

What is An Integrated Team Approach to Healthcare in Senior Living?

Every senior living community is made up of support systems designed to serve the health and wellness of residents. Often those systems include physical therapy resources. However, top-tier communities know the full power of physical therapy is unlocked when it is part of an integrated team approach.

What is an integrated team approach to therapy?

Senior living communities that use an integrated approach support the holistic health and wellness of seniors through a suite of interconnected healthcare offerings that treat the whole individual: physically, mentally, and emotionally. When a community implements this approach, their care team members aren’t limited to their own assessments or strategies. Instead, they can take advantage of the insight and expertise of a whole team of clinicians who are familiar with the resident they are working with. This can include physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, diagnostic specialists, and much more.

What does integrated care look like?

Integrated care is proactive, not simply reactive. It is designed to fully and completely address each resident’s needs.  

Consider fall prevention. A community without an integrated approach may simply react to falls, providing care and physical therapy after a fall has occurred.

However, an integrated team works to prevent falls in the first place, and works more effectively in aiding residents’ recovery when accidents do occur. For example:

  • If a medication has side effects related to balance, the therapy team can help build a plan to proactively assist the resident with avoiding falls.
  • From a diagnostics perspective, pharmacogenomic testing can help identify which residents are likely to have an adverse reaction to new meds.
  • If falls are already occurring, a consultant pharmacist can work with the team to evaluate cause and effect.
  • An on-site diagnostic specialist can check the resident’s blood levels to determine if an infection is present, prompting a different course of action.
  • If a person is falling only at night, the team can look at the current medication regimen to determine if that is causing the concern.

By doing root cause analysis with all disciplines, the team can more quickly and accurately get to the core issue and respond.

Who benefits from integrated care?

Everyone! Integrated care means healthier residents, and healthier residents mean a healthier community.

Residents experience a team who cares for and understands them as individuals, from head to toe. Their quality of life is better thanks to a team of professionals who are proactively assessing and responding to their needs. Plus, integrated care takes the pressure of communicating and asking all the right questions off the resident.

Families have confidence knowing their loved one is receiving quality care that reflects their individual situation. Family members don’t have to worry about being the go-between, hoping they’re tracking every detail about every new medicine or physical change in their loved one.

Operators can know they are providing complete care for residents. Not only does this mean a better experience for residents individually, but it positively impacts the community as a whole. Plus, improved resident health, decreased hospital stays, and increased length of stay are beneficial to the financial health of the community.

Where to Start?

For Residents: If you are considering senior living and looking at potential communities, ask questions about how care is coordinated across departments. Or, save yourself the guesswork and look for senior communities who are EmpowerMe Wellness partners. The integrated team model is what EmpowerMe Wellness is built on, so you can be confident you’ll receive the highest level of care.

For Senior Living Operators: The holistic health model is the core of what we do here at EmpowerMe Wellness. Connect with someone from our team to learn more about bringing on-site, integrated therapy, diagnostics and pharmacy to your community!

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