Lessons the Long-Term Care Industry Can Learn from the COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 left an unprecedented wake of destruction; one that hit America’s most vulnerable long-term care dwelling elders the hardest. However, the disaster in long-term care facilities could have been prevented—the pandemic exploited the many problems that the industry had been ignoring for years. As the famous Mike Tyson once said: “[e]verybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

Unfortunately, the long-term care industry faces a crisis that is far from over. Policymakers have their work cut out for them because the path to a well-functioning industry will take significant time and investment. In the current state, elders with end-of-life health conditions spend their final days in facilities that provide them little more than the bare minimum of care needed to keep them alive. Despite contrary belief that more funding is the only answer, the industry can utilize a patient centered approach to improve and create a creative, cost-efficient, and decentralized system that makes the elder feel more at home than they would at a hospital.