Senior health services have become a fast growing industry in America, and it’s easy to understand why. Over the next 15 years, the entire Baby Boomer generation will pass the age of 65. When that happens, there will be nearly 84 million seniors living in America, nearly one-fifth of our national population. And with the aging population comes an increasing demand for home health, which is why the industry is expected to grow a massive 8% over the next four years.
But success brings its own challenges. In the case of home healthcare. This means there is an increasingly greater difficulty in finding quality caregivers. In fact, there is already a growing shortage of nurses, physicians, support staff, and other practitioners all across the industry. While the number of home healthcare workers has already tripled over the past 25 years, this is still far from sufficient to meet demand.
Consequently, senior healthcare agencies have been forced into a fierce competition to hire the most qualified caregivers. With the availability of qualified caregivers spread so thin, this has made it critical for senior healthcare providers to have flexible staff to prevent fatigue, to find the appropriate balance of permanent and temporary clinicians, and to have excellent staff planning to ensure constant support.
Because prices in the healthcare industry are mostly set by private insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare, selecting between providers is rarely a matter of choosing the most affordable price. It’s about selecting based on a reputation for quality care. As the number of qualified care providers grows scarce, it’s that reputation which distinguishes between first-rate care and unexceptional alternatives, the cheaper route.
One reason to be optimistic about the future of senior healthcare is because it’s anticipated to contain the growing cost of care. This is partially due to the increased compliance associated with senior care, and partially due to a reduction in the number of emergency room visits and hospitalizations needed by those who have caregivers at home or in a facility.
According to Medicaid, senior healthcare services are also less costly than inpatient hospital visits. That’s part of the reason why Medicare is soon to add value-based reimbursements to help facilitate more senior healthcare options, which will reward the care providers who are able to successfully improve patient outcomes.
The Need for Care
It’s become common in America for younger family members to take care of their elders, but as our population ages, the ratio of family members needing care to possible caregivers is getting worse. In 2006, nearly a quarter of Americans provided care for someone over the age of 50, and that was before the Baby Boomer generation had even begun to retire.
America is about to undergo a drastic increase in demand for senior care. For seniors, that’s great news.