Growing Demand for Home Healthcare Hampered by Clinician Shortages
More than 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 every day, and many of these new seniors want a higher quality of life during the healthcare challenges they face. In most cases, they would rather spend this time in the comfort of their own home. Growing patient demand and preferences for a more personal care environment are fueling an increased demand for home healthcare.
It comes as no surprise that home healthcare is one of the country’s fast-growing industries. However, the industry is struggling with the challenge of a serious healthcare practitioner shortage. Home healthcare agencies are competing with hospitals, ambulatory care facilities, nursing homes, and other healthcare organizations for an already limited supply of practitioners, particularly nurses and therapists. Recruitment and retention of healthcare practitioners is widely cited as a top operational challenge for home healthcare agencies.
With shortages of nurses and therapists expected to worsen, home healthcare agencies’ full-time workers are carrying an increasing burden on their shoulders, which is causing alarming rates of burnout and fatigue. Some reports have shown the turnover rate for home healthcare workers at 50% or higher. One report showed a median caregiver turnover rate of nearly 67% across the industry. Rates that high suggest that burnout already is a problem.
Some of the challenges that home healthcare agencies are experiencing include:
- Staffing imbalances among units
- Staffing on the fly
- Clinical staff not working up to FTE commitments
- Forced overtime, floating and cancellations
- Recurring open shifts
- Frequent staffing escalations
- Labor cost overruns
- Burnout and low clinician morale
- Inability to stay competitive
- Ignoring potential revenue streams due to lack of staffing
- Lack of patient confidence
One way to prepare for these challenges is by utilizing a staffing partner that has access to the largest pool of home healthcare clinicians. This gives agencies access to pre-screened and highly trained travel nurses and allied professionals who are flexible and available to quickly relieve overworked employees in order to provide patients with continuous high-quality care.
Travel nurses and therapists can hit the ground running and help keep facilities running smoothly by acting as back-up to permanent staff, and helping to fill in for an agency while they are interviewing and hiring full time staff.
Adequate staffing levels are the foundation for meeting patient needs, increasing employee morale, lowering stress, and realizing continuous revenue increases.
A staffing partner can help provide professional guidance and advice on ways to keep staffing plans current and responsive to changing needs. Such fast growth comes with many challenges. A healthcare staffing partner can help home health agencies stay ahead of the curve and help to ensure the highest levels of patient care.