happy senior with caregiver

The State of Senior and Home Care in 2019

We’ve all heard the prediction that the aging Baby Boomer generation is poised to overwhelm the nation’s healthcare resources very soon. In some ways, this is good news, as the home healthcare industry will benefit from a robust demand for services like those we offer here at Mediquest, and in turn, be able to extend families and senior patients higher quality care.

Of course, many challenges are standing in the way of meeting that demand, including a significant shortage of qualified home healthcare workers.

No matter your perspective, it’s certainly an exciting time to be involved in home healthcare! And this is why we’re offering a closer look at some of the emerging trends that will make 2019 another interesting year. Read on to learn more about the challenges, as well as the exciting innovations that are currently driving our industry.

The Challenges

There are a variety of factors that have cropped up in recent years both globally and locally that have made the senior care and home healthcare industries more complex. One of these is actually growing awareness about the good work that caregivers do, which has elevated home healthcare to an absolute need versus a luxury in many people’s minds.

More seniors (over 70% of home care recipients are over age 65) and their families are discovering that home care is quite affordable compared to alternatives like moving onto a retirement community campus, and that has increased demand. We’re also facing several other issues, however, including:

Rising Costs

It’s not a secret that the job market in the United States is extremely competitive right now. Unemployment remains at its lowest levels in about half a century, and that means attracting new, qualified employees has gotten much more expensive in recent time. (This is true across industries, but has been particularly evident in senior and home care, based on surveys of industry insiders.)

Other circumstances are leading to rising costs, as well. We have felt pressure from changing laws on caregiver certification and compliance obligations, which cause us to spend valuable time and money keeping up. And broader changes to overtime pay rules, as well as minimum wage increases in many areas, have also added expenses for home care agencies.

Political Volatility

As we touched on in the last section, healthcare generally is a big target for politicians who want to change regulations in various areas that directly affect home care providers. Sometimes changes benefit our industry, but the uncertainty can threaten our ability to focus on what matters most – providing exceptional care to deserving individuals in the comfort of their homes. Both the Affordable Care Act and the current political environment that is seeking to repeal or alter this law are prime examples of the rapid policy changes we must endure.

Influx of Retirees

As the Baby Boomers continue to retire at a robust pace of about 10,000 people per day in the United States, healthcare resources across the board are struggling to keep pace with demand for services. Memory care needs are one of the biggest concerns now, as estimates suggest that 1 in every 6 women and 1 in 10 men who live past the age of 55 will develop dementia in their lifetimes.

While home care providers have long met the need for dementia care, employing enough qualified memory caregivers to help the growing number of people who require care gets harder every day.

Employers Attracting and Retaining Talent

The sheer amount of caregiving work available now and what lies ahead in the future has made the ability to attract and retain skilled employees a nearly impossible task. Here at MediQuest, we are always looking for experienced RNs, LPNs, and CNAs, but we know that these valuable healthcare professionals are in extremely high demand. There simply are not enough nurses and certified nursing assistants to go around.

Related to rising costs, as we talked about above, it becomes more expensive with each passing year to offer competitive benefits packages and compensation to our caregivers.

The Good News

If it has sounded like nothing but challenges and difficulties facing the senior care and home healthcare industries, we want to reassure you that there is a lot of good news, as well. Advancements in technology especially have been revolutionizing the way we deliver care, allowing us to personalize caregiving and better connect with our home care clients. There are other bright spots on the horizon, too.

Better Technology Implementation

It’s true that we have more technology tools available to us than ever before. Smartphones have made so much in life easier, and these devices give caregivers new ways to track patients’ progress and keep records. They also allow caregivers to connect with each other, share knowledge, and provide a valuable, always-on resource for learning new skills and problem-solving on the job. The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and voice assistants is also promising in helping us to serve more patients and families in new ways.

Increased Quality of Care

While we keep bringing up the hiring crisis in healthcare, it’s not all doom and gloom. Quality of care has been increasing in recent years, even if quantities of available caregivers are not growing fast enough.

The ultra-competitive labor market means that more true talent is being attracted to our industry than it was several years ago. Promises of excellent earning potential and benefits are drawing people who may have previously looked away from healthcare work because it didn’t seem “high-powered” enough for some overachieving individuals.

Greater breadth of specialized care services offered

Have you heard that many Medicare Advantage programs are now beginning to reimburse for home care services as a supplemental benefit? This is allowing the industry to start offering a wider range of services than were previously available, as well as expand services in trending areas like memory care and hospice home care. With more people gaining access to home care through new payment methods, the home care industry can meet the unique needs of new patients.

MediQuest Staffing & Homecare is Ready to Meet Clients’ Needs in 2019

Whether we’re working with clients and their families, or we’re collaborating with Central PA-area hospitals, doctor’s offices, nursing homes, or rehabilitation facilities to provide supplemental staff, MediQuest delivers a personal touch unmatched by competing home care providers.

If you need home care services or are a caregiver looking for a new employment opportunity this year, we can help. Get in contact with us today to learn more about our exceptional services.