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- Issue 81: April 2009
- Issue 80: March 2009
- Issue 79: February 2009
- Issue 78: December 2008
- Issue 77: November 2008
- Issue 76: October 2008
- Issue 75: September 2008
- Issue 74: August 2008
- Issue 73: July 2008
- Issue 72: June 2008

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We are in the process of moving all of our articles to the new site.

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Like Pharmacies, Residential Care Facilities will change.

Chris Wright
Dispensary Systems Perspective

Issue 77: November 2008
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It is accepted that within a few short years the queues of people waiting to see out their twilight years in a RCF will be akin to those trying to get into the MCG on Grand Final day. RCF’s of course offer two levels of care, loosely described as “Nursing” and “Residential”. It is often the case that a residential occupant becomes a nursing patient when their health takes a turn for the worse.
It has recently been reported that the operators of RCF’s see a very uninspiring financial return of only 1.1% per annum on each room.
Even in more favourable  times this sort of return is unlikely to sustain a budgerigar, much less a vociferous Board looking for a healthy profit.

Everybody suffers in times of the financial train-wreck type environment we are currently experiencing, from the financially perilous who are at the mercy of smiling landlords taking advantage, or the more financially privileged “ruling class” who are wrestling with the second mortgage on the holiday house geared against the stock market.

Ahh, the Irish in this little black duck is never far from the surface.

As usual, the elderly are copping a hiding, although I concede that little Kev has finally caved in with regard to pensions. RCF’s, like pharmacies, will change in the years to come. This writer would suggest RCF’s will become predominantly “Nursing” or high care facilities, rather than be a residential environment.

Clearly the lack of financial viability will push investors out of the industry as the Government waves a red pen and demands better performance for less dollars.The elderly will no doubt be given every encouragement to remain in their own home (read forced) rather than enter the RCF environment, assuming of course a criteria is met with regard to general health, physical and cognitive ability and of course emotional wellbeing. The trick then is how to ensure appropriate care is provided.

The supply and taking of medicines will no doubt be far easier to check and administer, given rapidly developing innovations in both DAA format and IT.

It might be that an appropriately trained carer becomes responsible for the care of (say) 10 “in home” residents within a small geographically defined area.The carer could move from house to house during the day to provide support and at night, in the absence of any other support the rotation could be maintained in person or by phone, whichever is applicable.

From a cost perspective, this is a fraction of the cost of a RCF providing precious rooms to residents, rather than nursing patients. From an investment point of view, a facility with 80 nursing beds rather than 40 nursing and 40 residential beds is certainly more attractive. Another aspect is that if RCF’s become   dedicated “nursing homes” in part, their medical/pharma facilities and knowledge will improve, as will the quality of the staff. This may mean RCF’s become short term hospital satellites for those in the grey area of being between hospital and home.This would shorten hospital stays, thus freeing beds.

Appropriately credentialed  RCF’s will no doubt be financially rewarded for this by the health insurance provider or Government.

Dare I suggest everybody would be a winner?

Another huge benefit would be the medication changeover from hospital to pharmacy during the stay at the RCF. Managed well with the right system in place the waste of medicines could be a thing of the past………and we all know what a problem that is, it is said that $1billion worth of medicines evaporate during the year. 

Who knows, pharmacists might even enjoy dealing with RCF’s if the goal posts remain static.

Investors must be given incentive to develop facilities, rather than cut the heart out of the wellbeing of the elderly.

Chris Wright.

November 2008.

 


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