It’s no secret that the home care industry is facing a crisis of sorts. As the demand for home health care services continues to increase across the country, mostly due to the baby boomer generation that is retiring and has been retiring for the past decade, many agencies continue to struggle to find and retain quality and dependable workers.
There are numerous reasons for this, not the least of which involves relatively low pay and the extremely physically challenging and difficult work that it entails. Unfortunately, the general public assumes that low pay is the result of greed or a lack of concern among business owners when in reality it has more to do with Medicaid reimbursement rates that have been cut significantly while inflation continues to rise.
The vast majority of home health care agencies operate on razor thin profit margins, especially in light of those Medicaid cuts. As a result, they are truly limited in just how much they can offer compassionate, caring, dependable, and valuable home care aides. This isn’t helping the shortage or the pending shortage that continues to loom large across the country.
As noted in the Boston Globe article, The US has a huge need for home health care, and many from Ghana do the hard work, written by Linda Matchan:
“Baby Boomers have helped double the size of the home care work force over the last decade alone. Roughly 10,000 Americans will turn 65 every day until 2030, according to the Pew Research Center. The vast majority of them plan to grow old at home, and many will need help to do so.
Finding that aide can be exasperating. There is constant churn in a home care workforce with a median hourly pay of just $11.03 nationally, $12.77 in Massachusetts, with the low pay exacerbated by inconsistent work hours.
Qualified aides constantly leave the business for relatively modest alternatives. Certified nurse’s aide Lauren Ahern of West Roxbury, for example, quit to start her own dog-walking service — and found it much more lucrative.
“For the first time in three years, I’m saving money,” she said.”
Relying on technological resources is certainly helping in some areas, but no amount of remote monitoring, alarm systems, or other devices will replace the value in hands-on, compassionate care of each aging senior or disabled adult. Home care agencies and the industry as a whole will continue to face the overwhelming challenge of providing services to a growing number of prospective clients while struggling to find ways to retain the best of the best.
Latest posts by Valerie VanBooven, RN BSN, Editor in Chief of HomeCareDaily.com (see all)
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