The baby boomer generation is retiring and that has placed increased pressure on the health care industry as a whole. Home care, which can include medical services, also known as home health care, has been the number one job creator in the country because of this growing demographic of seniors in the United States.
However, in a recent study published by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, it was found that although there was a relatively small increase in the number of home based medical care visits to seniors, many elderly men and women were still struggling to receive adequate care at home.
As noted in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, in a study, Use of Home-Based Medical Care and Disparities, conducted by Nengliang (Aaron) Yao, PhD, Christine Ritchie, MD, Thomas Cornwell, MD, and Bruce Leff, MD, their objective was listed as:
“To examine the volume of home‐based medical care (HBMC) visits made to frail older adults between 2011 and 2014 and sex, racial, ethnic, frailty‐related comorbidity, and geographic disparities in HBMC use.”
And the conclusion:
“Although there was a small increase in the use of HBMC between 2011 and 2014, the majority of eligible home‐limited individuals have not received medical care at home, particularly rural residents and those living in underserved states. More HBMC practices are needed, and programs may need to integrate telemedicine to expand HBMC in rural communities.”
There are many factors that can contribute to these issues, not the least of which involves location. In rural communities, the greatest struggle was seen among seniors seeking home health care support. This may be due to population, distance between prospective clients’ homes, and a number of other factors, but if these aging seniors require home care and yet there are not enough agencies or providers to offer these services, it means opportunities are likely being missed.
Many of the home care agencies and providers that are discussed within major media outlets are likely within metropolitan regions, either in the cities themselves or closer suburbs. For population numbers that are greater, there is an increased likelihood that these seniors are receiving the care they need (or at least have better access to them).
In states where home health care is underserved, there may need to be greater focus within the industry to find ways of delivering these important and sometimes crucial services to an aging population. Seniors in metropolitan regions in more populated areas across the country are certainly gaining better access to improved care, but those in some rural regions have actually seen access to care trimmed.