By The Clearday Research Team
Home healthcare labor shortage is well known within the healthcare industry, however, the lack of available staff has only continued to worsen during the Covid-19 crisis. Though home healthcare agencies have always struggled with maintaining a balanced level of labor, Covid-19 has introduced new and unique challenges which have only intensified long-standing issues.
“They’re choosing to go without a bath. They may end up lying in their own incontinence.”
According to (Olstein and Kenen, 2020), 96% of home health agencies had patients who refused care during the pandemic due to the lack of resources and protection. “They’re choosing to go without a bath. They may end up lying in their own incontinence.” Bill Dohmi, the National Association for Homecare and Hospice said. “We’re getting reports of family members stepping in to do some of this work, but that isn’t always possible.” We believe that the shortage of medical equipment and a way to track whether or not individuals have been exposed are a deterrent for the already very few willing to work in the home healthcare industry.
If not feeling safe in their work environment wasn’t already a big enough reason, low wages and lack of benefits are among some of the other reasons home health aides are choosing to leave the market. In the face of the threat of catching coronavirus, personal care aids are forced to rely on improvisation, which as a result can lead to cutting corners when providing care for their patients.(Tyler et. al, 2021) Agencies seem to disagree as far as finding a common solution that will sustain the home healthcare workforce. While some suggest that the rate should increase to meet $15 minimum wage expectations, a few state officials and advocates commented on the need to provide standardized worker training across states. Beyond pay, other recommendations for workers provisions included assistance to pay for childcare or even transportation. To put it simply, staff of these homecare agencies need to feel secure and safe and with the current system that is in place, we see room for improvement.
Creating a path for career advancement for home healthcare professionals and making them feel safe are necessities to increase retention and help to bridge the labor shortage gap. See how Clearday helps by clicking here.
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