We spent an entire afternoon on a single agenda in a recent client meeting: the labor shortage in-home care. That was the same topic last week, the previous week, and the week before that. Senior care agency owners are turning down business on a weekly basis and are losing sleep. By 2030, there’s expected to be a deficit of 2 million caregivers in the U.S. alone.
It is also driven by the fact that baby boomers in need of care are increasing by eight percent each year. The combination of these two trends will put significant pressure on businesses that provide senior care services while driving up costs for consumers.
How labor shortages are impacting U.S. home healthcare
The U.S. healthcare industry is growing at a rapid pace. The elderly population is rapidly increasing, and spending on home care and home healthcare is increasing yearly. As the elderly population increases, the demand for home healthcare also increases. This puts immense pressure on the existing healthcare workers.
One of our clients, a large home care agency based in North Carolina, has experienced a 50% decrease in human resources since March 2020. The business is losing money fast, and their leadership team is afraid they will not survive much longer if the situation persists. Their story is not unique — many small, medium, and large agencies struggle with a tough hiring market and high employee turnover, resulting in lower quality of care and significant financial losses.
Labor shortage statistics in U.S. home healthcare 2019- 2022
Employment demand in the homecare sector will grow by 8.9 % in the period leading to 2028. This growth will outpace every other occupation and is largely driven by an aging population and increasing demand for homecare and home health services instead of hospitalization and nursing homes/assisted living facilities. The trend is clear, older adults want to be treated at home, and to age at home.
However, the homecare industry is already severely understaffed – with current vacancies at around 10% – and this gap is predicted to widen as the pandemic accelerates retirements from a workforce with an average age of 42 years old while simultaneously attracting fewer new employees due to increased job risk, low wages and tough mental and physical aspects of the job.
Home Health Care News reports that overall turnover rates in-home services are around 65 percent. In addition to high turnover rates, unemployment rates hover around 3-4 percent nationally, leaving fewer experienced workers to fill open positions at home health agencies across the country.
Based on data by Home Care Pulse, the top 3 reasons for employee turnover in-home care are lack of opportunities for advancement, low pay, and lack of training. This is compounded by high demand from an aging population, who prefer to age at home instead of nursing homes or assisted living facilities.
The need for automation
Senior care businesses spend millions annually on recruiting and staffing services, in addition to training staff who leave shortly after they are hired. Our data shows that it costs up to $4,000 per hire when you factor in training costs.
The glaringly obvious answer to this problem is technology—specifically, intelligence tools that allow seniors to receive the best care and automation solutions that help caregivers do their jobs better and save time. However, investors and tech companies need to move quickly to make a difference before a full-blown crisis hits.
We are at the forefront of a tech revolution in healthcare, with most large investments being funneled into digital health care services and medical devices. Yet, we seem to ignore the largest healthcare workforce: caregivers.
While caregivers are in high demand and short supply, there are opportunities for other workers to fill these roles through technology-enabled hiring, training, and retaining solutions.
A new class of “augmented workers” — composed of semi-skilled workers guided by more complex tech-driven systems — can help ease the pain points within the workforce and improve the quality of care for seniors.
Sensi Ai is a great A.I.-powered solution for recognizing exceptional times amongst caregivers. Not only can it help identify whether or not your caregivers are facing difficulty in the field, but it can also be used to identify moments where they have gone above and beyond and award them proper recognition for their motivation.
Using this system makes it easier to provide them with the relevant training needed to improve and become more confident in their profession. Other startups currently making great strides in-home healthcare include Rapicare, Brightline, and aid health.
There is no better way to attract and retain homecare workers than by implementing modern technology. Age-tech has become a trend that is quickly growing in popularity, and it is having a noticeable effect on the industry. Innovators and early adopters have already pioneered creative solutions, however the field of opportunities is still clear for the early majority. The time to jump on the trend for investors and tech companies is now.