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How Diversifying Your Range of Home Care Services Can be the Key to Sustainable Growth in Your Senior Living Community

Published on September 27, 2023 by Sharon Morrisette

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In today’s competitive business landscape, achieving sustainable growth requires carefully planning and implementing the most effective strategies. From market penetration and strategic partnerships to market development and acquisitions, there are numerous strategies that a business can adopt in order to drive long-term success and growth.

In this article, we will explore ‘diversification of services’ as a key growth strategy for senior living communities (SLCs), the business benefits it can offer, and how to get started.

What is diversification?

Diversification is a strategy used by many businesses looking to increase growth. It involves expanding the business into new markets, products, or services with the goal of generating new sources of revenue and reducing overall risk. 

It can also help a business to gain a competitive edge and give it a head start on any predicted changes in its industry.

There are four methods of diversification:

  • Horizontal diversification
  • Vertical diversification
  • Concentric diversification
  • Conglomerate diversification

For senior living communities, the most obvious choice is horizontal diversification. This involves adding new service lines to your existing offerings that will provide an expanded set of options to your existing senior residents – and attract a wider variety of new clients to your business, too.

Diversifying your services means that multiple levels of care can be offered, for example, via on-demand or à la carte home care services, including:

  • ADL support to help seniors take good care of themselves through assistance with personal hygiene, getting dressed, eating meals, moving around the home safely, and so on.
  • IADL support to assist seniors in more complex tasks such as managing finances, medication management, planning and preparing meals, housework, pet care, and extracurricular activities.
  • Home deliveries, including prescriptions, pre-prepared meals, groceries, library books, etc.
  • Transportation for residents to go shopping, run errands, attend medical appointments, etc.
  • At-home healthcare visits including nursing services, doctor visits, optometrists, podiatrists, and occupational therapists.
Nurse measuring blood pressuer to senior woman in her home.

In addition to insourcing home- and personal-care services, SLCs can also look to expand other service lines, such as check-in capabilities, renting space to a pharmacy to dispense medications or a nurse practitioner to see residents as required, partnerships with other home care providers, and various on-site therapies. 

More progressive diversification of services may include offering home care services to the wider community – which can increase potential residents for your senior living community in the future – and pairing with PACE programs (if your state has it).

Investing the necessary time and resources into creating multiple sustainable service lines (and selling them to a familiar customer base) is a low-risk growth strategy compared to many others and can be a great way to ensure your senior living business’s stability.

Why diversify your range of services?

Senior living communities have evolved considerably in recent years in response to the changing needs and attitudes of seniors and their families.

With the senior population rapidly growing and the inevitable expansion of home- and community-based services, there are significant opportunities for senior living communities (SLCs), CCRCs, and assisted living communities to reach a larger group of the aging population by diversifying their range of services.

In providing more of a continuum of care, you not only offer numerous benefits for your existing senior residents but also set your business up for steady, sustainable growth over the coming years. The many other advantages for your business include:

  • Gaining a competitive advantage by offering multiple levels of care that your competitors do not – and, therefore, having access to a larger market potential.
  • Significantly increasing your overall market share and bottom line.
  • Profit maximization – the payor mix will likely shift to more private-pay residents, which typically result in higher margins than government-based pay sources – and are more stable and reliable.
  • Attracting and serving multiple care needs of seniors as they age – keeping residents in your community for longer. As their needs grow, you can accommodate them and delay the need for them to move to a higher-level care facility.
  • Creating added value for your residents, personalizing their experience, improving their safety and quality of life, and delivering better care outcomes (including reduced re-hospitalizations and emergency call-outs).  
  • Being ready, ahead of the curve, to deliver the model of care/senior living experience that defines the next generation of aging consumers.
  • Establishing stronger referral partnerships with professional referrals and third-party referral services.

As you can see, when implemented well, diversifying your current range of home- and community-based services can provide significant business benefits, give you a strong competitive advantage, and pose a relatively low-risk strategy for achieving sustainable growth. 

How to successfully diversify your range of home care services

As is true when implementing any new, innovative strategy, you will need careful planning when looking to extend your range of home care services. 

For example, identifying which services will best meet the needs of your existing residents, attracting and hiring the right staff to meet the demand for these new services, coordinating services, and integrating scheduling and financial operations.

Following our ‘six steps to success’ will help get you started on the right path.

1. Carry out a full risk assessment

Carrying out a thorough risk assessment of your current business – based on an evaluation of the market, the current economic situation, and the core skills/resources you already have available – is crucial before investing any time and money in a new strategy. 

To ensure you’re not putting your existing business at risk, you must be fully aware of the main challenges you’re likely to face and how you will deal with them.

It’s important to remember that remaining stagnant and choosing to avoid growth opportunities altogether is a decision that involves some risk in and of itself!

2. Identify the care needs of your existing (and potential new) residents 

Nurse talking with grandmother and her grandson indoors

Gather a list of diversification ideas that could work well for your business by speaking to staff, residents and their families, referral partners, etc. You can also research what has worked well for other SLCs that are similar to your own business model.

Think about your existing residents (and potential new residents) and how you can meet their current and future care needs by adding new services – to support them in living independently in your community for as long as possible.

3. Review what you’re going to need to get started 

Identify the financial, physical, and human resources you will need to set things up and keep them running efficiently. Do you have the right staff, knowledge, skills, partners, and tech tools to make this growth strategy successful? 

Identify any gaps that need to be filled and how you can fill them cost-effectively. 

You need to avoid stretching your existing resources too thinly, as this may result in an inconsistent level of service/quality of care, leading to resident dissatisfaction and potential client losses. It’s better to start slow and gradually build up staffing levels and resources as demand for your new services grows.

Puzzle, caregiver and senior men playing a game as entertainment or bonding together in a retiremen

4. Consider the safety and compliance implications of adding new service lines

Thoroughly research any safety or legal implications that may be required, for example, what certifications/training will any new-hire caregivers need. 

If you’re using the right software, like Smartcare, this will be easier to manage once you get set up, as it will track all the essentials for you, as relevant to each state.

“Smartcare allowed us to track our credentials in each state because they are all different – whether they need CPR, TB, or physicals. The system allows us to track all those things so we ensure we’re compliant with each state. If there is a problem, the system will let us know, ‘so and so specific credentials expiring.’ We do our own checks, but the Smartcare application serves as a second set of eyes, which is very beneficial.”

Bob U.

5. Find the right technology partner

Expanding your range of home care services will, of course, add some internal complexity. You will need to make some adjustments to management, quality of care control, staffing levels, etc. 

To avoid inadequate resource allocation, inefficiency, and management issues, finding the right technology partner to support your new venture is essential.  

The right software, like Smartcare, will seamlessly integrate your current services with any new home care service lines. This cloud-based software provides everything you need to streamline, optimize, and scale every aspect of your operation efficiently and effectively. 

It also integrates with many senior living platforms, such as PointClickCare, making it possible to accelerate the referral process and simplify billing.

Smartcare’s complete software platform and EMR include all the tools you’ll ever need to successfully implement and manage an extended range of home care service options, including:

Smartcare will do the heavy lifting for you, giving you the time to focus all your efforts on what you do best – providing high-quality care and services to your senior community.

6. Continually measure and monitor performance

Smartcare Home Care Software KPI Dashboard

It’s essential to have tools in place to measure and monitor business performance as you begin to implement your diversification strategy. This information is crucial to making informed decisions about the ongoing viability of new service lines and making any necessary adjustments for improvement.

If you invest in an all-in-one tech solution, like Smartcare, this information will be available in real-time, 24/7, via customizable KPI dashboards – and across multiple locations, if applicable.

“One of the problems we were trying to solve was having the flexibility to track and report on all of our locations. That’s where Smartcare came in with customized reporting and a payroll report that syncs with our Excelforce program.

Smartcare created a report for all our home care amenities – all 36. When we pull that report, it itemizes out the amenity based on the shift tag, so we can see in each region what we’re billing for home care, what we’re billing for exercise physiology, what we’re billing for nurses, and what we’re billing for life skills. Essentially, that customization made it much easier to run the organization.”

Bob U.

You should also regularly gather qualitative data – for example, feedback from your residents, families, and those delivering the new home care services – and act on it!

The bottom line

If your senior living community has reached the next stage of its growth journey, you might be considering diversifying your range of home- and community-based care services. It can be an incredibly successful (and low risk) strategy to adopt for SLCs looking to achieve steady, sustainable growth. 

It not only opens up new revenue streams, increases your brand exposure, and attracts new customers to your business but also improves outcomes, boosts your residents’ satisfaction, and ensures seniors can remain living in your community for far longer.

Take a look at how Smartcare customers are already reaping these amazing business benefits.  

To find out how Smartcare Software can help your senior living business expand and manage its range of home care services successfully, please give us a call or request your free demo today.