COVID-19 Outbreak- Impact on the US Home Care Industry
The novel coronavirus has taken the world by storm and the United States is one of those countries that is severely impacted by its outbreak.
It won’t be wrong that the entire country is facing a tough time due to the virus, which originated from Wuhan, China in December 2019 and has caused millions of people in the US to shelter in place.
Many people are assuming that the home care industry is booming in the current crisis as the demand for in-home care providers is surging, but the reality is unexpectedly opposite.
Home care service providers in the United States have reported that their business is down due to various factors, including family members being at home and cared for by their loved ones and elderly turning caregivers away due to coronavirus fears.
While the entire industry is facing a tough time, experts predict that the business will surely pick back up at a fast pace in the upcoming weeks.
Here’s the detailed information about the actual condition of the United States and the entire home care industry in the country.
Caregivers are the ones who are undeniably on the frontline of the battle. While they need to ensure quality care for the elderly, the fact that their health is at risk can’t be overlooked.
Most of the caregivers also fear to deliver their services to the areas that are considered to be the hotspot for the COVID-19 outbreak, which severely increases stress for home care agencies.
On the other hand, an adequate supply of PPE isn’t assured to the caregivers in some parts of the United States, which again isn’t a good thing for caregivers. However, most of the states are covering the surging demand of PPE in their respective states and the condition is improving day by day.
Another great challenge for the caregivers is to provide mental support to the ones who are severely ill and facing health issues like Alzheimer’s or Dementia.
Although these medical conditions don’t increase the risk of getting infected by COVID-19: certain behavioral changes might contribute to an enhanced risk of exposure.
Here are the major challenges that most of the personal care service providers are facing:
- Shortage of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)
- Increased shift hours
- Risk of infection
- Increased sick leaves
The Agency Employees
Just like the caregivers, other employees working for the home care agency are also going through a tough time delivering their services. While most of the agencies’ staff members are working remotely, the shift hours are substantially increased.
Providing adequate support to the clients and their relatives’ queries is crucial than ever before, which is perhaps the reason why employees are doing overtime even from their remote locations.
Although the management of caregivers through dedicated home care software is much easier than before, there’re still some aspects that require staff members to ensure quality care delivery.
Here are the major challenges that home care staff members are facing during the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States:
- Increased working hours
- Extended support to caregivers, clients, and their relatives
- Providing and managing the supply of PPE for caregivers
- Monitoring the overall health of the caregivers for enhanced safety of the clients
- Keeping a record of care delivery and assigning caregivers based on the priority of care requirements
- Managing caregivers in a situation when an individual applies for a sick leave
Home Care Agencies
The home care agencies are undeniably witnessing the most challenging time when they not only have to deal with the increased demand for caregivers but at the same time manage caregiver retention rates.
Most of the caregivers aren’t agreeing to deliver care due to the coronavirus fear. This is the major challenge for the agencies that are already facing a shortage of skilled professionals.
Moreover, the ones seeking care services for only daily chores are now relying on remote care delivery services as the skilled professionals are delivering care to the ones who are infected with COVID-19 or are suspected of the infection.
Apart from this, maintaining a considerable caregiver turnover rate at this point is more crucial than ever before. While most of the caregivers are hesitating to deliver care to the elderly due to the risk of contamination, some of them have already left the profession.
Assuring the caregivers that the agency is all set to fight against the novel coronavirus is essential along with equal emphases to meet the surging demand of PPE.
Caregivers need to be assured that agencies are together with them during this crisis and are well prepared for any emergency. This helps in retaining caregivers as well as maintaining an excellent quality of care for clients.
Here’s the list of major challenges for home care agencies during the global pandemic:
- Assuring the safety of the caregivers
- Managing the adequate supply of PPE
- Pre-planning for an emergency
- Managing sick leaves of the caregivers
- Assuring better support services from the other staff members
- Communicating with the clients and caregivers to ensure they are with them during the crisis and well prepared for any emergency
Here’s what agencies need to emphasize:
- Remote care delivery for the ones with basic care needs that can be handled remotely
- Retaining skilled caregivers and reassuring them that your agency is making every effort to ensure adequate safety for them
- Screening caregivers before their shift
- Providing paid sick leaves
- Hiring new caregivers or seeking support from volunteer caregivers
Now when we talk about the clients, that are mostly the elderly, they are also facing different issues during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Whether it is the reliability of care delivery or the concerns related to their underlying health conditions; elderly adults are stressed.
While most of the seniors are avoiding caregivers at this crucial time, many of them are completely dependent on a caregiver even for daily chores.
The issue that is striking a majority of the elderly population is the fact that skilled professionals aren’t available to work long shifts.
The ones with less experience in the industry can’t be relied on to deliver care for the ones with severe health issues including Alzheimer’s or Dementia.
Furthermore, the family members of the elderly are always concerned about the health of their loved ones, which is the reason they have many doubts for which they seek help from the agency’s support services.
The clients should necessarily follow these instructions to remain safe during the pandemic:
- Use PPE to cover face and hands
- Properly wash hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds
- Sanitize frequently used objects and common areas
- Never share towels, clothes, cell phones, or other objects
- Maintain social distancing
The United States is undoubtedly facing one of the toughest times ever in the history of the country. Every citizen needs to play a crucial role in fighting against the pandemic.
When we talk about the home care industry: every individual associated with the community is doing a commendable job, which is providing the strength to the battle against the novel coronavirus.
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