A recent Kaiser Health News article discusses the acute shortage of at-home healthcare providers, a trend caused by the rising age in the U.S. as well as stagnant wages. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1.1 million at-home health care workers will be needed by 2024 to care for both disabled and senior patients; however, the Medicaid-funded positions offer little incentive to pursue this position due to low wages. The average hourly rate for this position is $10.11.
Private for-profit enterprises that provide at-home care also face difficulty recruiting individuals. Carrie Bianco, the owner of Always Best Care Services claims that, “All the experienced workers are already placed with families. They’re off the market.” Karen Kulp, president of Home Care Associates of Philadelphia, also reported how competition in recruiting has become so competitive that rival companies will recruit individuals in the lobby of the building where her business is located.
Disabled adults are one of the populations most affected by this trend. These individuals only require one to two hours of care each day and are often located outside of urban areas. Caregivers would prefer to focus on a single patient for a whole day rather than travel between patients throughout the day.
Dr. David Gifford, senior vice president of regulatory affairs at the American Health Care Association, said, “If we don’t turn this around, things are only going to get worse.” One current proposal to remedy this issue involves gathering more data about the issue on the state and federal levels, so that there is a better understanding of the scale and scope of the problem. Others believe that if the federal minimum wage is raised to $15, people will be more inclined to fill these roles.
Read more at Kaiser Health News