The Critical Gap In-Home Care Workers versus Demand

Home Care Workers

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The problem of a shortage of caregivers within the all U.S. healthcare system is not a secret; however, the demand for home-based healthcare employees, specifically, is increasing rapidly.

There is a significant gap in demand for home healthcare workers. Each day, about 10,000 people reach the age of 65 across the U.S. as the baby boomer generation is entering the older age group. Most of the population would like to age in the privacy of their homes. However, they will require home health assistance to achieve this. Therefore, healthcare professionals who work in homes have been in high demand since 2011 – when the first baby boomers reached 65. In 2030 when the entire Baby Boomers population has reached 65, about 18% of America’s elderly population will be in the country, as per Pew Research Center population projections.

A Boost in Need of Home Healthcare Workers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 2.8 million jobs were created in the healthcare industry from 2006 until 2016 – at a rate that was seven times more rapid than the overall economy. The need for healthcare professionals who work from home has grown faster than in other practice areas. Why?

Apart from the growing number of patients who are part of the baby boomer generation and their families, policy changes are affecting the rising demand for services at home. Since decision-makers consider home healthcare a cost-effective answer to medical expenses, providers like the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) continue to implement changes that push patients away from rehabilitation centers, hospitals, and nursing homes and into the home healthcare system.

In a CNBC story, Bill Dombi, president of the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, stated, “2015 was the first time that the majority of funds were allocated to home care over nursing care.”

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Home Care Services

Home care agencies provide a range of patient options based on their medical requirements. As of 2018, 78.3 percent of the home-care providers in the U.S. provided skilled nursing, 69.3 percent provided assisted living, and 53.8 percent provided speech therapy.

Most people receiving home health healthcare across the U.S. are over 65 years old. Approximately 95 percent of patients require help bathing, and 88 percent need assistance in getting between beds. Seniors who are 85 years old or older and have limitations of three or more activities of daily Living (ADLs) are provided with approximately 11 hours of aid daily. Therefore, the large volume of patients in need of assistance with ADLs leads to the need for more assistance at home.

Healthcare Jobs at Home in High Demand

Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for home health aides is expected to rise 41 percent in 2026. This is more than 4 million additional home health aids in just five years. It does not even account for other areas of skilled care of home health care, such as therapists and nurses. The bottom line is that the rise in the demand for services will lead to a massive shortage of all kinds of home health professionals.

What Is The Significance Of Wages?

The wages of healthcare workers in homes are crucial not only to ensure that the workers are paid an income that is sustainable but to reduce their dependence on the security net for social protection, increase their quality of service, and bring more people into this fast-growing sector. In addition, by stabilizing the formal paid care workforce, more women offering care for their families in the informal setting would be able to rejoin the workforce as relatives receive care from home health care workers.

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A Specialized Training Program for Home Healthcare Professionals

Healthcare professionals working in home settings require the same medical education and experience as healthcare workers in other care settings. However, healthcare professionals working in home settings require special training that enables their staff to keep a watch on the mental and behavioral health of an individual who lives in their home. Since boredom, loneliness, depression, and helplessness are more frequent among seniors in their homes, it’s essential for them to recognize and address problems promptly.

In addition, home health professionals need to learn how to build an unrivaled relationship with patients and provide care from the comfort of their homes. It is not just a shortage of jobs but also the requirement for home healthcare agencies to employ properly educated, enthusiastic, and experienced staff.

Home health workers must know about different documentation and billing requirements for reimbursement for services rendered. Additionally, the safety of patients, driving, and infection control guidelines must be followed. That means that healthcare professionals can only move from hospital to home healthcare with adequate training.

Best Option for Home Care Agencies

The greatest threat facing home care providers is the shortage of caregivers. There are a few options for the best way to source the 4 million new workers required in the workforce in less than ten years. Hiring and adequately training more home health workers is the sole solution to meet the demands. But, the agencies will require a way to reduce turnover among caregivers within their companies in order to remain viable. The best method to accomplish this is to provide top-quality care, develop an environment that is positive for employees constantly undergoing education and training, and reward and acknowledge the best employees.

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Conclusion

Over the past few years, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in demand for home care services, particularly with an aging population that wants to age in place. However, there aren’t enough home care workers to meet this growing demand. It has resulted in long wait times for services and a strain on family caregivers trying to do it all independently. But don’t worry. Some solutions have been proposed to address this critical gap, such as increasing worker wages or investing in more training programs. It will take time and effort from policymakers and industry leaders, but we’re hopeful that these efforts will lead to better outcomes for both home care workers and those in need of their services.

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