The demand for home health is booming, and home health jobs are expected to skyrocket with it. This healthcare employment trend isn’t slowing down any time soon and it’s a great opportunity for healthcare travelers to put their service to good work. Here’s what you need to know about where home health is heading and how you can jump in as a traveler!
Home Health Jobs Projected to Increase Over the Next Decade
Home health care job outlook
In addition to the overall healthcare staffing shortage, there is a huge growth rate of 33% projected for home health caregivers with an estimated 599,800 job openings available every year, over the next decade. This follows the growth projection we’ve seen in the home care workforce over the past decade, with numbers in 2010 jumping from one million workers to over 2.4 million in 2020. In comparison, similar growth will be expected in the next decade as adults 65 and older are predicted to increase from 56.1 million individuals recorded in 2020 to 73.1 by 2030.
“This workforce is in extremely high demand, driven primarily by the growing population of older adults,” Stephen McCall, a PHI data and policy analyst, said. “We’ve seen this workforce add millions of jobs over the past decade, and we can expect a million more in the next decade — more new jobs than any other occupation.”
Additionally, the projected ratio of seniors to home health aides in 2030 will remain around 16:1, the current nationwide ratio. However, some states will experience more drastic staffing shortages than others. It’s expected for more than 35 states fall below the average national ratio of home health aides to adults over 65 and considering how states' populations of older adults will change by 2030, an additional 10 states will fall short of the ratio eventually.
What is home health care?
So, what does home health care look like a traveling healthcare professional? There are different types of travel home health care jobs including:
- Home Health RN
- Home Health LPN
- Hospice RN
- Hospice LPN
- Home Health Case Manager
- Home Health Clinical Manager
- Home Infusion RN
Job duties will vary depending on position, but in general you can expect to work in patients’ homes and monitor the condition of a range of people from the elderly to those with disabilities, chronic illnesses, and more.
Every day as a home health nurse or healthcare professional will look different. You may only work with one patient or multiple patients in a day. You may also stay with one client on a long-term basis or for a specific purpose, such as hospice care.
As a home health travel professional, you’ll provide quality care to patients within their own home, which is an intimate setting and as a result, requires and additional level of compassionate care and respect. You’ll be responsible for various job duties which may include:
- Taking vital signs
- Assisting patients with mobility issues
- Cleaning wounds
- Post-surgery care
- Administering medication
- Drawing blood
- Handling paperwork, charting, and other administrative tasks
Why are home health care services growing?
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of older Americans is projected to increase by almost 18 million over the next decade as the last of the baby boomers turn 65. As this generation ages and the elderly population increases, the demand for home health services and professionals like a physical therapist and occupational therapist will continue to increase accordingly. On top of this, elderly people and people with disabilities are increasingly turning to home care as an alternative to nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or hospitals for care.
While the projected growth of seniors is a driving force behind in home care, there are other factors at play. In the wake of the coronavirus (COVID) pandemic, the patient demographic for home health has shifted to encompass more than just elderly people. People with underlying medical conditions are less likely to want to visit the hospital and prefer to receive patient care at home, where the risk for being exposed to COVID is lower. Additionally, those with COVID who don’t require hospitalization may need home care, and those who do require hospitalization will still need help from home health aides even after they're discharged.
“A lot of people had to figure out how to take care of their health at home or virtually during the pandemic, either because they didn’t feel comfortable going to a hospital or access to the hospital was limited,” Lisa O’Connor, a senior managing director in Health Solutions at FTI Consulting, said. “Even post-pandemic we’ll continue to see a lot of health care moving into the home area.”
Hospitals are also taking this opportunity to grow their business lines and provide around 20% more in home care than in 2021, according to a recent survey of more than 130 CEOs. By doing so, hospitals are looking to improve caregiver and patient satisfaction by delivering acute hospital care in the home. By shifting targeted patient populations to hospital-at-home care as a strategic growth tactic, health systems are decreasing length of stay and skilled nursing facility usage, improving patient transitions and safety, and reducing the total cost of care.
Opportunities in the home health care sector will only continue to skyrocket. As a traveler, your ability to fill home health care needs in the most in-demand states is extremely valued. So, take advantage of this demand for home health professionals.