The home health industry is growing rapidly. In fact, Americans spent $103 billion on home healthcare in 2019 alone. Home health, also called the continuum of care, includes a wide variety of post-acute care methods, including skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), long-term care (LTC), and rehab centers.
So why is there such a high demand for at-home care? One of the main drivers is the aging baby boomer population. The population of Americans ages 65 and up is expected to increase by 75% between 2010 and 2030. As the second-largest population in American history, baby boomers’ retirement is having, and will continue to have, lasting effects on the healthcare industry.
The Effects of an Aging Population
By 2030, all baby boomers will be 65 years of age or older. As millions of baby boomers across the country grow older, their health declines, and the need for medical care rises. In fact, seniors are three times more likely to be hospitalized than middle-aged people, and 75% of seniors live with more than one chronic health condition.
While most medical care takes place in hospitals, it’s not always possible for seniors to have long-term stays. An influx of seniors requiring hospital care means that there are not always enough beds for every single patient. Some health systems also struggle to ensure there are enough staff to deliver life-saving care. Both of these factors contribute to a common solution: sending patients home once their illness reaches a manageable level.
Early discharge and a vast aging population require health providers to think a little differently about the type of care they offer. The traditional practice of healing in a hospital bed is being traded for living and recovering at home. From there, patients can receive home healthcare services from qualified aides and therapists.
The Home Health Staffing Landscape
As acute patients require care beyond the capabilities of friends or family, the industry sees a high demand for home health clinicians. Home health employment is expected to rise 41% from 2016 to 2026, creating an estimated 7.8 million jobs. Hundreds of thousands of workers are employed in the home healthcare sector, in positions including the following:
- Registered nurses
- Licensed practical nurses
- Physical therapist
- Speech therapist
- Occupational therapist
- Home health aide
- Unlicensed assistive personnel
However, despite the growing need for home health workers, there is a significant shortage among healthcare staff. In a 2019 study, 52% of registered nurses said that the shortage is getting worse. This can put an especially big strain on health systems, who already deal with open shifts among core, in-hospital staff. One effective solution is for health systems to invest in vendor management system (VMS) technology, which gives them the resources to recruit qualified home health workers and organize employee credentialing and other data.
Using a VMS for Efficient Home Health Staffing
Using a VMS, health systems can work with staffing vendors to efficiently find the right clinicians when they need them. This is all done through internal float pools. Float pools enable home health providers to move clinical resources around in any given metro area and establish more efficient processes.
VMS software also gives hiring managers resources to store all necessary staff information, ensuring at-home patients are seen by only qualified caregivers:
- Booking dates
- Health records
- Pay rates
- Licensing requirements
- Background checks
- Employee evaluations
A VMS platform can ensure that you’re providing quality care to patients in both the hospital and the home. Contact ShiftWise today to learn more about how a VMS platform can organize your home health staff and ease the pressure on your recruiting department.