At home healthcare can be a favorable option for both patients and healthcare providers. Research shows that the home healthcare industry is continuing to grow and will become increasingly larger in the next few decades.
Many factors contribute to the explosive growth of at home healthcare, including the aging baby boomer population and an industry-wide push for value-based care. But no matter the reason for an increased demand for home health services, healthcare facilities would be wise to start providing—or improve upon existing—at home healthcare plans to enhance the care they offer their patients.
What is at home healthcare?
Any health services offered by medical professionals—such as visiting nurses, aides, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and more—in the convenience of a patient’s home are considered part of home healthcare. Almost any healthcare service can be provided at home, including:
- Physical therapy
- Psychiatric care
- Dementia care and senior care
- Infection prevention
- Wound care
- Pain management
- Monitoring serious illness, chronic conditions, and unstable health problems—such as pneumonia, COPD, and diabetes.
- Disease education and prevention
- Medical observation and assessments
- Medication management, administration, and education
- Dietary and nutrition management, planning, counseling, and education
From helping an older adult with activities of daily living—for instance, bathing, dressing, and eating—to helping a chronic disease patient stay on top of their treatment plan, home healthcare can come in many forms and help people with various conditions.
Benefits of at home healthcare
There are many ways your healthcare organization can benefit from at-home care. For patients, the allure of in-home care is clear. Staying at home and having clinicians come to you when you aren’t feeling your best? Sign us up! However, it’s important to note that your care program will also benefit from offering home healthcare services for the following reasons:
- It is less expensive. A study published in Annals of Internal Medicine revealed that in-home care is 38 percent less expensive than hospital care. With the U.S. population of people 65 and over set to reach 83.7 million by the year 2050, finding a cost-effective healthcare solution is imperative—making at-home care look all the more enticing.
- It is just as effective. The same Annals of Internal Medicine study revealed that at home patients are 16 percent less likely to have to be readmitted to a hospital than patients who did not receive their care at home.
Hospital readmission is an enormous issue, especially with the older generations. If you can prevent patients from being resubmitted to a healthcare facility—occupying limited bed space and using valuable supplies—you will be able to provide better care overall.
- It is more convenient. Patients who are receiving care in the comfort of their own homes do not have to worry about anything other than healing. Healthcare providers come directly to them, and family and friends can easily visit, as well. They are generally reported to be happier and healthier than patients receiving care in hospitals or other healthcare facilities.
What factors have influenced home healthcare’s recent rise?
At home healthcare is growing faster than any other division of the healthcare industry. According to The US Home Healthcare research report from Business Insider Intelligence, the U.S. home healthcare market is projected to grow about seven percent, annually. That means there will be an increase in overall spending from $103 billion in 2018 to $173 billion by 2026.
Due to the many benefits of in-home care, patients are spending more on home health services than ever before. But price and convenience aren’t solely responsible for the massive shift in demand for home healthcare—it’s the aging population and a push for value-based care that are truly propelling this trend.
America is aging
As the baby boomer population ages, there is a higher demand for jobs in the healthcare industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the health labor force will increase to approximately 169.7 million people by 2026. Healthcare and related occupations make up over half of the 30 fastest-growing occupations from 2016 to 2026.
In 2015, more money was spent on at-home care than care at a skilled nursing facility. Since then, the gap has only gotten bigger. Most aging adults prefer to live out the remainder of their days in the comfort of their own homes rather than nursing homes or assisted living centers—and caretakers benefit from at-home care, as well! Paying for home health services proves to be far less expensive than sending their loved one to an unfamiliar facility.
With this shift toward home care, healthcare facilities need to consider offering home health services if they don’t already—or reevaluating and improving upon the current model of at-home care they provide. The demand for home healthcare providers will only increase in the coming decades.
Value-based care is not a new concept nor a unique driving factor for home healthcare’s growth. The push for patient-centered care is causing a shift in the way clinicians approach care—and changing healthcare for the better, too. With a care model that focuses on what will result in the best patient outcomes, care providers are getting creative about how they tackle trending issues that crop up.
When it comes to putting patients first, at home healthcare is a no-brainer. Not only is in-home care cost-effective and convenient, it also offers undivided, one-on-one attention to patients. There are no distractions or medical emergencies that will pull nurses or health aides away from their patients—when they are there, they can be fully present.
At home healthcare also facilitates a stronger connection between patients and their caregivers because they are given more time to get to know one another and connect. This strengthens the patient’s trust in their clinicians and the organization those clinicians work for, too. When given a choice, many patients would choose healing in the comfort of their home, every time.
Why you need effective, ongoing at home healthcare
In-home services allow people to receive care without leaving their homes, thereby sustaining their quality of life. This type of care can be used by patients who want to get treated at home for a multitude of reasons—including conditions that affect the aging population, and chronic illnesses such as cancer, ALS, and MS. As long as the patient fits their list of requirements, Medicare and other health insurance companies will even cover home care services.
A person receiving at home healthcare is more likely to feel that their care team is putting their needs first. Without consistent and effective care, your patients will look to other healthcare service providers. But simply providing at-home care isn’t enough—care teams need to improve communication and create efficient workflows to offer the best quality in-home care possible.
How Welkin helps
Integrated Patient Relationship Management (PRM) software helps at home healthcare teams hyper-communicate so that every team member in a home health agency is up to date on a patient’s current status. Unlike a traditional medical care facility like a hospital or nursing home where patients must physically come in, at home healthcare providers take turns visiting the patient—often alone.
With Welkin Health’s PRM, all vital information is conveniently stored in the same software platform so that team members have everything readily available to them. Any home health services professional can pick up where the last shift left off, smoothly and without mistakes.
Don’t rely on dated technology or models of care and simply hope that it’s enough for your patients’ overall experience. Integrated technology can help you provide exemplary care—both in your facility and in your patients’ homes.
To learn more about a PRM’s crucial role in a streamlined care team, read our ebook “What Is Patient Relationship Management & Why Is It Important?” You can make a patient’s experience feel personalized and curated—you just need the right technology!