A new study shows that co-locating senior housing with such medical resources as primary care, pharmacy and lab services can help to lower inpatient hospitalization rates and readmission rates among senior patients.

Anne Tumlinson, an independent researcher with more than two decades of experience in health care and long-term care policy and research, conducted the study using Juniper Communities as its subject.

Juniper Communities operates long-term care facilities in New Jersey, Florida, Pennsylvania and Colorado, and has developed its Connect4Life model that integrates on-site medical services with social supports and residential care.

The study compared Connect4Life results with data in the 2012 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey for similarly disabled and cognitively impacted Medicare populations living in the greater community, as well as those living in senior housing who do not have integrated health care programs. Although Juniper’s residents were older and more cognitively impaired than the overall Medicare population, the Connect4Life model consistently produced better results.  

Independent analysis of its model showed that Juniper had a 50 percent lower inpatient hospitalization rate and more than an 80 percent lower readmission rate when compared with non-Juniper Medicare patients with similar conditions.

“The findings clearly suggest that integrated senior housing services programs like Juniper Communities’ Connect4Life have great potential to reduce the cost of care to high-need, high-cost Medicare beneficiaries,” Tumlinson says. “This is incredibly important news for accountable care and managed care organizations that should be working with innovative senior housing providers to manage population health.”

The research was presented last month at the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care Spring Investment Forum in San Diego.

“The findings of this research can have a big impact on the quality of life for frail seniors living in senior housing communities,” says Robert Kramer, CEO of the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care. “Fewer trips to the hospital means a better quality of life for seniors and enhanced ability to do the things they want to do, which includes not being defined by health problems. This is a key part of the fundamental value proposition of senior housing and care communities.”