For a time, it seemed that home visits from doctors were a tradition of the past. However, with a growing population of seniors in need of access to affordable care, senior housing communities are experimenting with ways to link to the healthcare system through the Affordable Housing Plus Services Model.
Rooted in population health management, this model represents a mutually beneficial partnership between healthcare providers and affordable senior housing organizations to maintain and improve the health of seniors over time.
Presbyterian Senior Living first implemented the Affordable Housing Plus Services model in June 2011 at Presbyterian Apartments, an affordable senior housing community in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Partnered with Pinnacle Health, and funded by Enterprise Community Partners, Presbyterian Apartments linked on-site clinicians from the local hospital with the apartments’ on-site supportive services coordinator to provide weekly medical support to apartment residents.
Six years later, an expanded and evolved program is now funded by Enterprise Community Partners in five additional sites as Presbyterian Senior Living continues to identify and implement initiatives that support sustainable independent housing and improve health and service outcomes for residents.
Addressing an unmet need
Seniors living in affordable housing communities often lack access to transportation, regular health monitoring and knowledge of proper self-care. Combined with difficulty coordinating and understanding care options, medical issues often are unaddressed and eventually escalate to avoidable complications, readmissions to the hospital, or unnecessary visits to the ER (as hospital and ER visits become seniors’ primary outlet for medical care).
This translates to high costs on all sides, and the likelihood of additional exacerbation of medical issues due to a system that is unable to address the underlying causes.
The idea behind the Affordable Housing Plus Services Model is to impact patient engagement by having trusted resources available on-site to match residents with healthcare providers to facilitate proactive healthcare. By intervening where seniors live, these programs reduce hospital visits and prevent premature transitions to higher levels of care.