April 23, 2018
HOUSTON, TX–This spring, The Buckingham senior living community continues to unveil features of a comprehensive $72 million community expansion. A significant piece of this project is a new health services building, with nearly 80 new assisted living, skilled nursing and memory support residences, an augmented physical therapy gym, and distinct rooms for speech and occupational therapy.
Additionally, the expansion includes The Tower—an 11-story building that features nearly 100 independent living residences and amenities, which include a fitness center, an outdoor courtyard, and an upscale dining venue with a wine room.
“We approached the health services side of this project with families in mind, and how we could better include and acknowledge them in the treatment and recovery process,” said Phillip Jacob, assistant executive director at The Buckingham. “Through new equipment and redesigned spaces, like our full kitchen and pantry, we can simulate real-world challenges during therapy. This gives families confidence their loved one will be better prepared when they transition back home.”
To support the transformation of physical space in its health services building, The Buckingham recently introduced a number of new technology resources to help deliver more efficient, integrated care:
A state-of-the-art call system has been installed throughout the health services building. In addition to traditional call buttons in each room, all health professionals are equipped with a smartphone-like device that constantly receives call alerts and other resident data no matter where they may be located. The devices allow team members to prioritize alerts depending on time or urgency, and even communicate with residents and colleagues in real time.
“This system is quite advanced compared to traditional alert systems and will help us deliver even greater coordination of care,” said Jacob. “It will also help to further improve response times, which has the potential to reduce fall rates. We can even pull digital reports that allow us to see what times of the day are busiest, so we can better forecast what the demands will be and adjust staffing levels as appropriate.”
Another piece of new technology will help health professionals better monitor and track the status of older adults who complete rehabilitation or skilled nursing care at The Buckingham. The software, NexusConnexions, supports the transitional care nurse who works with and makes in-home visits to discharged adults. The platform helps provide structure for day-to-day activities, creates personalized agendas, monitors data, and delivers insight to management on how activities translate to outcomes.
“A lot of the nurse’s job through the transitional care program is education,” said Jacob. “They make sure the individual is familiar with their medications and watch for any setback in their condition. Now coupled with the new digital tracking technology, the hope is that any signs of regression in that first 30-day window are caught early enough that steps can immediately be taken to avoid readmission to a hospital.”
The Buckingham typically discharges 12 to 15 skilled nursing or rehabilitation residents a month. In 2017, the community’s readmission rate was 14%, significantly lower than the national average of 21%.
“Technology is going to continue to play such an important role in what we do from a health services perspective,” added Jacob. “This tool is a great example of how we’re adapting to meet the needs of those we serve. But at the end of the day, it’s the willingness of our health professionals to be engaged and work directly with residents and their families that will continue to separate us from other communities.”