Meeting workforce challenges
As home health care grows, so does the demand for home health nurses. Home health care agencies will be competing for quality practitioners with numerous other healthcare industries, including many well-established enterprises. The competition for RNs, who are needed to perform specific clinical functions, will be particularly high.
Overcoming workforce challenges starts with staff planning, which is vital to meeting patient demand. Staff planning is very important in a rapidly growing, increasingly challenging industry such as home health care.
Staff planning in home health care should include flexibility to fill gaps, such as the time it takes to recruit and onboard permanent hires. That will require a mix of permanent and temporary clinicians, including travel nurses and allied professionals.
The home health care industry is driven by many of the same pressures that are increasing demand throughout health care. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) calls for improvements in quality of care, population health, and cost containment. Home health care is an important answer to these challenges. It can result in greater patient satisfaction, greater patient compliance with treatment, and more proactive care, all of which improve care quality.
Technology is improving and growing right along with the demand for home health care. Nurses need additional solutions to help keep up with the shift. One example is computer software that provides nurses with access to evidence-based information related to care, drug information and patient education, all tailored for care in the home. Mobile solutions like this help nurses and other clinicians to assess competency, assign skills, and evaluate performance to improve care.
Home health care can bring diagnostics, treatment and prevention to the patient, rather than passively waiting for the patient to enter a doctor’s office or clinic, which is important to improving population health.
Telehealth holds great promise in providing accessible quality healthcare in the home setting. Telehealth applications are expanding to focus on the care needs of the population of patients with chronic health conditions residing in remote areas. Expanded informatics applications for complex home care are developing along with telehealth care plans focused on resolving complex care issues.
Providing care in a patient's house may also be an answer to rising costs in the medical industry. Receiving treatment at home rather than at a trained nursing facility after surgery, for example, can have a large effect on the cost of care, saving the patient a significant amount of money.
The shift from treatment to proactive monitoring in care, combined with technological advances means many more options for care providers and patients.
If you're a home health nurse, comment on this post and tell us how many years you have been practicing home health care.