6 Long-Term Care Administrator Jobs that Make a Difference
In acute-care clinics and hospital settings, health care involves properly diagnosing, treating and curing patients so they can move beyond personal health challenges. In long-term care settings, however, quality health care takes on a different meaning.
When a patient enters a nursing home, assisted living facility, post-acute care facility or needs to receive transitional care, rehabilitiative care or full-time care at home, they are typically facing a new reality — one in which daily life is changed forever by an illness or disorder that limits independence. They may struggle with a physical disability, or with psychological illnesses like Alzheimer’s or dementia. Perhaps even more challenging is the emotional stress they experience in the transition to a new setting with new limitations.
In this situation, the long-term care administrator’s job is to help ensure that patients or residents receive the compassionate, quality care they deserve across a department or health care organization. It can be a challenge, but a rewarding one at that. For many leaders in long-term care (LTC) and long-term post-acute care (LTPAC), the ability to do truly meaningful work is what keeps them motivated to work in this sector. If you are looking to make a positive impact in your career, consider the opportunities available in long-term care administration.
6 Impactful long-term care administration jobs that could suit you
In long-term care settings, health care professionals must be equipped to not only address health care challenges, but also provide daily living assistance with an emphasis on compassion, dignity and safety. To do so, they need support from managers who recognize the importance of their work.
Whether or not you have worked directly with patients, you could move into a leadership role that influences the quality of care that residents receive. Curious about what kinds of positions are available? Read on for a quick look at some jobs in long-term care administration.
1. Nursing home administrator
Nursing home administrators handle the day-to-day operation of nursing homes and elder care facilities. Their duties can include directing and managing staff (including administrative staff, housekeeping, kitchen staff, nurses, groundskeepers, etc.). Their impact, however, reaches further into the individual lives of residents and their families.
Nursing home administrators are often responsible for communicating with residents’ families, and ensuring overall resident care, safety and privacy through adherence to industry regulations. This is quite a task that, in practice, may involve management duties for a single department, or cross-functionally across multiple departments. Ultimately, this role is pivotal in giving residents and their families peace of mind regarding their loved one’s long-term care.
2. Assisted living administrator
Assisted living administrators have similar duties to nursing home administrators, but they work in a slightly different environment. Here, residents are more independent. The approach to management, therefore, must balance strategies for helping residents maintain independence while ensuring safety and security.
The administrator’s role leans heavily on business management responsibilities, such as determining resident admission, ensuring legal and regulatory compliance and providing quality control for health care delivery. Administrators also lead in organizational budgets and finance and may lead teams in handling some personal finance issues for residents — always walking an important line between health care and personal support.
3. Home care administrator
Home care administrators are typically a bit more disconnected from the individual health care locations, but that does not diminish their importance. They are vital for connecting otherwise isolated individuals (who require in-home health care) to their communities.
To do so, long-term care administrators must rely heavily on their management and leadership skills as they oversee staff that operate in home care settings. Their responsibilities involve regular written and verbal communication with staff as well as budget development and financial management. Administrators may be responsible for program development — organizing outings that bring residents into the community and programs that support independent living skills. Much like other administrators, these roles are closely tied to compliance and regulatory issues on local, state and federal levels.
4. Long-term care (LTC) nursing director
Unlike other long-term care administrator roles, nursing directors work closely with the health care delivery team. They draw on their nursing experience to guide the staff’s approach to patient care, which often involves navigating the nurse’s personal relationships with residents and their loved ones. Since the facility is the patient’s home, having a compassionate and capable nursing staff can truly transform a resident’s life.
Administrators may or may not personally interact with residents, but their work in interviewing new hires, selecting and managing nursing staff, goal-setting for nurse teams and overseeing in-service training and professional development programs greatly influences the resident experience. The same holds true for their leadership in regulatory compliance and budgeting. Business management skills are critical for nursing directors, but their experience in health care delivery truly sets them apart.
5. Nursing home admissions director
For many individuals and families, the biggest challenge of long-term care is making the transition into a nursing home or elder care facility. Nursing home admissions directors make a difference by providing support and guidance through this process. They inform prospective nursing home residents and their families of responsibilities, rights and benefits. They provide guidance on contract procedures, facilities, financial issues and the various nursing home programs offered to residents. In short, they take the mystery and uncertainty out of an otherwise stressful process.
Beyond the personal service, admissions directors often work in conjunction with marketing directors to create admissions materials and appeal to prospective residents. They must follow strict privacy rules, conducting background checks and confirming medical assessments that determine eligibility for residency. To top it off, they are also often involved in regulatory and budget oversight, making their role critical in overall facility operations.
6. Care transition navigator/Post-acute care program director
After an acute care or hospital stay, some patients may need to be discharged into a lesser level of care. For example, someone who suffered an injury at home may have received acute care in a hospital or clinic, but that care may have brought to light memory issues and the need for long-term care in assisted living. Others may have suffered a medical challenges and need to be released into rehabilitative care.
Individuals who work in these long-term post-acute care (LTPAC) settings are tasked with facilitating a seamless transition from hospital settings into skilled nursing facilities. Depending upon the role in LTPAC, an administrator may be responsible for overseeing and assisting in patient assessments that determine and identify their long-term care needs. Others may help design and develop programs that promote patient independence and patient outcomes. Overall, LTPAC administrators are critical for reducing re-hospitalization and ensuring the delivery of quality care for individuals as they transition into a new level of health care.
Why pursue a career in long-term care administration?
Personal fulfillment in your career can go a long way when it comes to job satisfaction, but job security and growth potential do as well. Fortunately, this distinct area of health care is on the cusp of significant growth that will require not only skilled nurses and health care practitioners, but also qualified long-term care administrators with the business mindset to lead expanding teams and organizations.
By the year 2030, the percentage of people in the U.S. over 50 years old is expected to exceed 70%. Along with this aging population comes an inevitable increase in disability cases and a growing demand for affordable care homes. Industry leaders are seeing this shift in a number of ways. For example, in the skilled nursing setting, many facilities are discharging 70% of their admissions within 6 months to lesser levels of care or home-based care. The nature of long-term care is transforming to a blend of medical care and hospitality services as aging adults transition into elder care facilities or transitional care settings.
These trends are just part of what makes the long-term care job market uniquely appealing. Salaries for long-term care administrators are also expected to continue their upward trend, with the median 50% of nursing home administrator positions enjoying a salary between $67,000 – 100,000 per year.* These positions often include the opportunity and responsibility of leading significant business enterprises and large employee workforces. If you are eager for career progress and a sense of purpose, long-term care could offer the opportunities you seek.
Make a difference in long-term care leadership
Long-term care requires leadership that understands both the importance of the field and the changing landscape of the industry. It needs people who have health care administration skills specific to nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other long-term care settings.
If you are ready to explore career options in this burgeoning field, consider an education at Saint Joseph’s College. In our online Bachelor of Science in Long-Term Care Administration program, you can position yourself for career growth while continuing to work in your field. Request more information today.
*Salary data reflects Payscale salary reports for Nursing Home Administrators, updated December 2017. Salary data and employment conditions in your area may vary.