November marks a month to focus on our patients and caregivers at home. We are honoring National Home Care and Hospice Month and National Family Caregivers Month as well as Home Care Aide Week on November 8-14.
Home health care is a growing healthcare sector that allows patients to maintain their independence and remain comfortable at home. It also can keep patients away from hospitals and nursing homes where they may become sicker. Considering the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to acknowledge the impact that home health care has on healthcare and what the future holds.
Demand for Home Health Jobs
Now more than ever, there is a high demand for home care workers. As our aging population increases, there will be more potential patients needing care which means the demand for caregivers will continue to increase. Additionally, with increased infections and deaths in nursing homes due to COVID-19, patients are looking for alternatives to inpatient care to prevent additional exposure.
Benefits of Working in Home Health
There are plenty of benefits to working in home health. The nurses, therapists, and other healthcare professionals that work in home health enjoy the one-on-one patient care and personal relationships in the field. Working autonomously in patients’ homes helps home health clinicians be more resourceful and independent. There is also a draw to home health work because it offers variety and flexibility for healthcare professionals.
Staying Safe During COVID-19
To decrease the spread of COVID-19, home health workers must take more precautions in order to keep themselves and their patients safe. With all the traveling home health workers normally do, there are potential risks of transmission from household to household. Safety measures such as additional sanitizing and PPE like wearing masks helps protect everyone involved.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a guide for caring for patients at home to help navigate this time. If someone is suspected to have COVID-19, the home environment and patient(s) need to be assessed to make sure there is space to quarantine, adequate caregiver coverage, and access to resources like food and other necessities. Since hospitals and nursing homes can have higher risks of spreading the illness, a patient’s home can be a good option if all their care needs can be met there.
The Future of Home Health Care
Currently the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) does not define “home health” to include “personal care” such as bathing, dressing, etc. Although these can be needs that home health patients require. Expanding the definition could help more patients at home and avoid burdening nursing homes with patients that can still be at home, especially during this global pandemic.
Telehealth is another area where expansion is needed to address the current concerns of accessibility and safety during COVID-19. Although it cannot replace in-person assessments or treatments, some care or consultation can be done via telehealth to prevent long trips and additional exposure to doctors’ offices and hospitals.
Quality home care is essential for our healthcare system and will continue to be in the future. COVID-19 has brought additional challenges for home health agencies and providers but is important to look for ways to expand the workforce and accessibility of home care services moving forward. Supplemental Health Care is thankful to all our home health and hospice nurses, therapists, aides, and other healthcare professionals that care for our friends and family members. We recognize you this Home Care and Hospice Month – and every day after!
Supplemental Health Care has an exclusive Home Health division with hundreds of opportunities available right now. If you would like to start or continue your home health care career, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us for more information on careers or workforce solutions today.