Kristy Brown, Centrex President & CEO, is a guest columnist at McKnight’s Long-term Care News & Assisted Living blog. Her most recent article, “Using therapy to improve population health” discusses finding creative ways to motivate people to commit to a healthy lifestyle and the role of therapy in that process.
Between the 1960s and 1980s, my father-in-law was a doctor with a vision that far surpassed those of his era. He wanted not merely to treat patients, but to head off future illnesses that might afflict them due to unhealthy choices. If he determined patients were obese, he would attempt to assist them with finding a diet and exercise plan that worked for them. He did not shy away from talking to people about things that would change their lives for the better.
Today, this approach has particular appeal for healthcare professionals who want to achieve the Triple Aim created by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement: improving individuals’ experience of care, improving population health and reducing the per capita cost of healthcare. This post is about improving population health—one of a provider’s greatest challenges.
I write this because in all my years of working in rehabilitation, I have been in hundreds of independent and assisted living communities that cater to the older generation. I have seen beautiful fitness and pool areas that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars — and next to no use of these fitness centers. What good does this do for older people in our communities?