Trends Shaping the Future of Palliative Care, PACE, and Post-Acute

Historic shifts in life expectancy are reshaping the future of palliative care, PACE, and post-acute, requiring a transformative approach to leadership.

Historic shifts in life expectancy are reshaping the future of palliative care, PACE, and post-acute, requiring a transformative approach to leadership.

Historic shifts in life expectancy are reshaping the future of palliative care, PACE, and post-acute, requiring a transformative approach to leadership. Successful organizations are turning these challenges into opportunities, according to trends and insights from our healthcare executive recruitment experts at Furst Group


What is the Future of Palliative Care, PACE, and Post-Acute?

The healthcare landscape is expanding. Particularly, organizations grapple with how to care for palliative patients, post-acute, and those within the Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) care sectors. As the baby boomer generation ages, we are witnessing a significant surge in demand for senior care.

With the senior citizen population reaching a historic height of over 60 million, the demand for non-acute care continues to grow. Likewise, in the USA, over the last 12 years, patient counts in the PACE sector have nearly tripled, and this trend is projected to continue over the next twenty years.

Specifically, the population of individuals aged 80 and above is projected to increase by a remarkable 47% to 82 million by 2050, presenting an opportunity for the PACE sector to continue to expand its reach and impact with more innovative strategies, driving us toward more effective solutions.

The United States home care market, including PACE programs, is expected to more than double from $100 billion in 2016 to an impressive $225 billion by 2025. This substantial growth underscores the increasing preference for in-home care and the integration of digital health technologies, positioning PACE at the forefront of change.

Legislative Changes Paving the Way for Future PACE Programs 

In 2024 and 2025, an increasing number of states will pass legislation allowing for the creation of PACE programs, including Illinois, which will begin operating PACE services next year. PACE and several expanding post-acute care continuum services will further integrate into umbrella structures by visionary aggregators, both non-profit and for-profit, in an expansion of what was traditionally among the smallest sectors of healthcare into nine-figure organizations.

As of today, PACE programs are actively operating in 32 states and the District of Columbia, and the number is steadily increasing. This growth is a testament to the effectiveness of PACE programs in providing comprehensive medical and social services to certain frail, community-dwelling elderly. With new programs continually opening, PACE is set to become an increasingly integral part of healthcare provision, offering preventative, acute, and long-term care to more and more communities across the United States.

The Shift to In-Home Care

According to recent reports, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 300 nursing homes have closed across the United States due to understaffing. In addition, up to 40 percent of nursing home residents are living in facilities that are financially at risk of closure, underscoring the importance of alternative care solutions.

As nursing homes face closures and staffing challenges, states view PACE programs as a more efficient and cost-effective solution and approach to keeping the elderly engaged and active during the day with supervision while remaining at home residence. This shift of care to in-the-home is lighting a spark to flip the balance of power from the institutions of care to those who will decide who is welcome into their homes.

What are the major problems with Improving Palliative Care? How are Teams Addressing Challenges in the PACE Sector?  

However, there are challenges that need to be addressed. According to a recent National PACE Association study, transportation is one of the most challenging aspects of delivering quality participant care and expanding the size of PACE programs. Additionally, while talent acquisition presents its own challenges, due to the relative youth of the sector and its presence in only 64% of states, this also represents an exciting opportunity to attract and cultivate new leaders in this emerging field. 

Enhancing the understanding and knowledge of the PACE program among healthcare providers and potential participants is a crucial step toward fostering its growth. Similarly, ensuring efficient food delivery to participants, especially during challenging periods like a pandemic, emerged as a key area for improvement as many PACE centers nationwide had to modify their services accordingly.

Working Towards a More Collaborative PACE, Post-Acute, and Palliative Care Ecosystem

Joyful healthcare leaders smiling looking hopeful about the future of palliative care and post-acute care while working together.An effective strategy for expanding comprehensive healthcare calls for the continued involvement of a multi-disciplinary, diverse healthcare community. Building a widespread home health and therapeutic care network relies on several key factors.                                                                             

These factors include:

•    Confidence in the care model
•    Collaboration with competent partners beyond the hospital
•    Sustainable payment model that judiciously combines
     fee-for-service and value-based care

The increasing demand for PACE, post-acute, and palliative care underscores the importance of confronting these challenges. By doing so, we can progress towards a more streamlined and effective healthcare system. This shift not only benefits patients but also contributes to the overall efficiency and sustainability of our healthcare infrastructure. Tackling these needs will require strategic leadership that is both excited about personal leadership growth and the rapid growth throughout the industry.

The Future of Palliative Care, PACE, and Post-Acute Requires Strategic Partnership

As we navigate the shifting landscape of the post-acute and palliative care sector, it is clear that leadership plays a pivotal role.  Understanding the strategic skills and attributes needed to stand up these businesses is where our expertise comes into play.

Are you prepared for the future? Do you have a succession plan in place? With the increase in CEO and executive turnover coupled with this expanding industry, the time to act is more important than ever. Here at Furst Group, we offer tools and guidance to help you implement strategic succession planning, ensuring stability, continuity, and effective leadership during these periods of transformative change.

Together, we can cultivate diverse leadership engagement, enable agile growth strategies, and attract top talent to your organization ready to take on the future needs of the industry. Your organization does not have to be simply taken with the post-acute trend— it can lead it. 

The following resources provide some critical steps to start your succession planning journey. But beyond that, our team of experts is excited to guide you along the way. Contact us today to learn how we can help you navigate the future of healthcare leadership. With continuous innovation and collaboration, together we are poised to forge a future where high-quality, comprehensive care is accessible to all.

Additional Resources:

Succession Best Practices & Competencies for Positioning Yourself for Selection
The “S” Word: How Avoiding Succession Planning is Impacting Your Profitability and Future
Executive Succession and Leadership Development: Careful planning avoids disruption and fuels corporate continuity

Published by Bob Clarke, Chairman - MPI Companies