Currently there is a growing demand for health care workers across the broad spectrum of services needed at the moment, but there aren’t enough workers to fill these jobs. By 2025, it’s estimated that the nation will require 2.3 million new health care workers, but it will fall short of being able to fill those positions.
In fact, some estimates state that there will be a shortage of 446,000 home health aides and 125,000 nursing assistants and nurse practitioners by that time. Some may argue that these estimates are simply precautionary and it’s not really going to be a major problem, but local agencies and organizations are already feeling the pressure.
According to the New Castle News, in the article, Workforce shortages challenge local healthcare providers, written by Renee Gendreau:
“Home health aides and nurses may be the hardest to find, according to Mercer, which foresees a shortage of 446,300 home health aides and a combined shortfall of nearly 125,000 nursing assistants and nurse practitioners by 2025.
Locally, health care providers already are feeling the pinch.
Susie Tack Beardsley, chief administrative officer of Quality Life Services — which owns Golden Hill Nursing Home in New Castle — attributes the shortage to aging population, growth of the healthcare industry in general and possibly to the expanded job market for women.”
There are several factors that could be contributing to this dilemma, and they’re not all about money. Some point to the increased number of options for women in various industries. Traditionally, women have filled the role of nurses and nurse practitioners through the years, but with so many other options, there aren’t as many pursuing health care.
Another potential factor is relatively stagnant wages. Depending on the position, a nurse’s assistant or home health care aide might struggle to move out of poverty when choosing certain jobs. That’s not providing a great incentive for many of these in home care workers.
And still another factor has been traditional degree programs for nurses. Now, though, fast-track certifications and other programs are making it possible for people to get into the health care field, start building experience, and then continue their education, if they so choose.
Ultimately, this coming shortage is likely to impact many facets of the health care industry, including in home care support. Some of the solutions may involve innovative ideas at the private level and some on the federal level. There are numerous theories that may help resolve this impending problem, but it’s unclear if they will be enough to ensure people have adequate access to quality care and support when they need it, either at home or in a hospital setting.
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