While the hospitals and physician offices across America emptied due to fear of COVID19, a major shift in home health occurred.
“We saw an increase in physician referrals start in March,” explained Natalie Miller, Clinical Manager of Anderson Home Health. “Physicians needed eyes on their patients and our staff answered that call.” What was normally happening in physician offices was now up to Home Health staff.
Natalie and Home Health Services Director, Lisa Kuhl, have a “good” problem. They estimate they now receive nearly 30 referrals a week and can only accept 17 – 20 of those patients. “Our therapy groups and nurse schedules are full.”
The Home Health industry is poised to boom in the post-COVID phase as there is a growing preference and shift from institutional to in-home care. An article on CareVoyant.com revealed:
- Shifting Demographics – As the Baby Boomer generation retires, the population the industry serves is exploding. The population over 65 in the United States will continue to grow significantly in the future. By 2030, 19.6%, or nearly one in five, Americans will be over the age of 65 which is expected to rise to 23.4%. Effectively, older adults will outnumber children.
- Expanding Market for Private Duty Home Care. In 2018, spending on nursing-home services and continuing-care retirement communities increased by 1.4% to $168.5 billion. That compared to 5.2% growth in home care spending, which totalled $102.2 billion, according to the CMS Office of the Actuary. Home-care spending is expected to hit $186.8 billion by 2027.
- Cost of Care – The growing economy is unlocking immense opportunities for the home care industry. The 65+ age group is preferring to stay at home instead of staying in Assisted Living Facilities or Skilled Nursing Facilities. This trend will accelerate with COVID-19’s significant impact on Skilled Nursing Facilities (about 40% of the deaths are in nursing homes).
- Economic Trends – When the economy is growing, consumers feel that they can spend money on in-home care. Further, the demand is fueled by state agencies and payers alike promoting in-home care against institutionalized care.
- Cost Effectiveness vs. Institutional Care. Hospital care is costly. State agencies and healthcare payers are promoting healthy lifestyle changes and also promoting home care to support older adults. Care can be skilled or non-skilled care. The economic affordability and quality of care means that there will be increasing demand for credentialed private duty nursing care.
Anderson Home Health is comprised of nurses, nurse aides, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists and office staff. Their average daily census has climbed from 77 in March to 92 in June. They are an important part of the continuation of nursing or therapy needs as a patient transitions home. Their jobs take them all over the map, five counties in fact. Most work from dawn till dusk, and someone is always on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Through regular visits, home health nurses establish a relationship with each patient while monitoring his/her medical condition and providing specialized care. They can suggest changes in routine to help the patient live more fully, answer questions about the patient’s care, and can train family members to take an active role assisting with many treatments and procedures – all while keeping the physician aware of the patient’s progress. Many patients also need assistance with day to day activities like bathing, dressing, exercising, and cooking. So nursing assistants are provided for those needs, to make sure patients receive the most complete care.
With hospital stays ever shortening, Home health care is the fastest growing component of medical care in the United States. At Anderson Hospital’s Home Health department, experienced teams of caregivers, led by nurses and therapists, provide one-on-one care to patients. Nursing, physical, occupational, and speech therapy services and home health aides help manage disease process and improve daily activities.
Care provided by the Registered Nurse is directed toward:
- wound care
- dressing changes
- catheter insertions
- catheter maintenance
- diet therapy
- ostomy care
- IV therapy
- patient education
- medication monitoring
- teaching basic nursing care
- teaching disease process
- diabetic care
Care provided by the Aide is directed toward:
- assisting in personal care
- skin care
- assisting in meal preparation
- light housekeeping (linens)
- reporting changes to the RN
- Care provided by the Physical Therapist
- is directed toward:
- therapeutic exercise
- muscle strengthening
- transfer training
- gait training
- muscle re-education skills
- ultrasound therapy
Care provided by the Occupational Therapist is directed toward:
- energy conservation techniques
- daily skills training
- sensory treatment
- use of adaptive equipment
- upper extremity strengthening
- fine motor coordination
Care provided by the Speech Therapist is directed toward:
- voice disorders
- speech articulation disorders
- non-verbal communication
- swallowing difficulties
- stroke rehabilitation
Care provided by the Medical Social Worker is directed toward:
- referrals to community resources
- application for financial assistance
Medicare and Medicaid coverage is available when certain criteria are met. Coverage by insurance plans varies and depends on the level of care required. The Home Care Office performs insurance verification and all billing.
For more information regarding home care services, please call Anderson Home Health Services at 618-288-9355.