Personal stories bear witness to shortage of homecare workers

Jun 8th, 2022 | By | Category: News

By Joyce Famakinwa

Home Health Care News

It is often said that storytelling can be a powerful tool for change. This is what the members of the newly formed Home Care Workforce Action Alliance are banking on with the announcement of the Voices for Care at Home campaign.

The Home Care Workforce Action Alliance is the byproduct of some of the biggest industry stakeholders on the trade association side. The Home Care Association of America (HCAOA), and the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) are joining forces to tackle the ongoing home care staffing crisis.

The Voices for Care at Home campaign asks individuals to detail their experiences trying to gain access to care. The Home Care Workforce Action Alliance will then amplify these stories.

“Being in this space for more than two decades, and being an advocate for home care, I am always struck by the stories I hear about everyone’s experience when it comes to caring for an elderly parent or family member,” Vicki Hoak, CEO of HCAOA, told Home Health Care News. “We wanted to collect those kinds of stories.”

Along with the experiences of individuals trying to access care, the campaign aims to include stories from families, caregivers and nurses.

“I think stories are powerful when it comes to advocacy, and that is why we decided to launch this campaign,” Hoak said.

The number of people who need care is on the rise. Specifically, 81 million people in the U.S. will be older than 65 years, compared with 72 million under the age of 18, by 2040.

Additionally, individuals turning 65 today have nearly a 70% chance of needing long-term care and support.

On the flip side, homecare providers are struggling to keep up with that demand for care.

“Agencies are reporting that they’re turning away 20, 40, 80 cases a month because they just don’t have the aides and nurses to staff those cases,” Hoak said during a Home Care Workforce Action Alliance press conference on May 18.

Hoak noted that there will be an estimated national shortage of 151,000 paid direct care workers by 2030, and 355,000 by 2040.

 

Home Health Care News covers the senior in-home care industry and is part of the Chicago, Ill.-based Aging Media Network.

 

HOMECARE WORKERS LEAVING AS NEED FOR THEM KEEPS GROWING

The Home Care Workforce Action Alliance offers some facts that it says illustrate why homecare, and the hero caregivers in the industry, should be top-of mind:

  • A 2021 AARP survey found that 77 percent of adults over 50 years old want to remain in their home long term.
  • By 2030, the number of those over 65 will grow by more than 30 percent, and today the U.S. is already in a crisis to provide homecare to those who need it.
  • Many trained home health caregivers are leaving the industry in favor of higher-paying settings or industries. Aides can make more money working in retail, fast food restaurants, or at places like Amazon. Nurses are often offered more money at hospitals or doctors’ offices, where they have a full team providing them support.
  • Whether an individual will pay for their care via Medicaid, Medicare, private insurance or self-pay, homecare agencies report having to turn away 50 percent of those seeking care due to a lack of staffing.

The alliance, which features nationally renowned leaders from the home health industry, recently unveild its Voices for Care at Home Campaign. The campaign’s goal is to take a different approach to raising awareness of the ongoing home health caregiver shortage in America, putting the spotlight on caregivers and people receive care in the hope that “first-hand stories will compel Americans to realize just how important homecare is to all of us,” an alliance spokesman said.

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