Ochsner's Skilled Nursing Facility leadership talks about the organization's recent award and how to meet the demands of a growing elderly population.
Ochsner Health recently received the Workforce Innovator Award from the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI), as part of LABI's 2022 Free Enterprise Awards.
The annual awards recognize members of LABI who "demonstrate exemplary commitment and contributions to the state's business climate and their local communities," as stated by BIZ magazine.
Ochsner Health, which serves communities in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the Gulf South, was specifically recognized for its "commitment to training and employing a diverse and compassionate workforce."
William Wright, director of Ochsner's Skilled Nursing Facility, says he believes the honor also came because of the health system's reputation, a reputation that spreads across all the organization’s services, such as its skilled nursing services and staff.
"I believe that the sheer recognition that Ochsner has, that the skilled nursing facility carries with it, that people want to stay in [our] health system when it comes to post-acute," Wright told HealthLeaders. "And they have a lot of faith and confidence in the health system whereby they can transition from acute care to post-acute care with the Ochsner brand."
According to Danielle Yenuganti, RN, nurse manager of skilled nursing care for Ochsner Health, the nation's elderly population is expected to grow exponentially, with the most growth to be seen from 2020 to 2030. There are currently 46 million adults over the age of 65 in the U.S.; by 2050 that number will be 90 million.
"We have to figure out a way to take care of our elderly population and continue to do it with the highest standards of quality that they deserve, and that we as health systems want to give to these patients," she said.
"Moving forward, we are going to have to use different things, whether its home health, skilled nursing facilities, all those different areas of post-acute, so that people get the best quality that's appropriate for them at that time. And there's going to be a shift of what that looks like to be able to meet the demand of that growing population."
The Skilled Nursing Facility is located within the Northshore Medical Complex, with thirty beds and private rooms. During the pandemic, being part of a larger health system, the facility had access to resources that enabled them to maintain operational efficiency and allowed them to pivot quickly to changes.
"One thing we learned was how to adapt quickly to new things," Yenuganti said. "A lot of time in post-acute, it's a lot slower paced, we do things the same way a lot of the time, and during COVID that tested us. We had to think of new ways to do things quickly, [and tackle] problems with the mindset of, 'Let's look at new ways to do this and figure it out.' "
Wright noted that through the difficulties of the pandemic, the skilled nursing staff developed a strong teamwork dynamic.
"With COVID, everyone had to come together and work in interdisciplinary teams. That's something that's continuing as we come out of COVID, everybody being a united front and working together," he said.
Yenuganti, who has a background in geriatric nursing, added that for healthcare professionals who have remained in the post-acute and long-term care sector after the pandemic, they feel that they've found where they're meant to be.
"As hard as it was, it's a lesson to know [you're] in the right spot, [you're] doing the right thing, what [you] do makes a difference," she said. "And that's a lesson you take with you through the rest of your career."
“A lot of time in post-acute, it's a lot slower paced, we do things the same way a lot of the time, and during COVID that tested us. We had to think of new ways to do things quickly, [and tackle] problems with the mindset of, 'Let's look at new ways to do this and figure it out.'”
Danielle Yenuganti, RN, nurse manager of skilled nursing care, Ochsner Health
Ochsner Health recently recieved the Workforce Innovator Award from the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI).
Its anticipated that there will be 90 million adults over the age of 65 in the US by 2050
For the healthcare workers that remained in the post-acute and long-term care sector after the pandemic, Yenuganti said they feel they've found where they're supposed to be careerwise.