Stories about Covid infections in nursing facilities are all too common. This has expanded the feeling among families (88%) that they would rather find a way to care for relatives in their own homes instead of moving them into a facility. The deaths of nearly 200,000 long-term care patients and staff in the US has fundamentally changed the business of long-term care. This is the result of the fact that aging in place overwhelmingly seems to increasingly be the decision of choice. The pandemic seems to have highlighted the benefits of home care and it is likely that the trend of delivering long-term care in the home will expand.
The pandemic also increased the viability of “non-touch” care. Technology like video monitoring makes the ability to provide in-home care possible enabling physical therapists, social workers, and mental health counselors as well as physicians & nurse practitioners to provide services without being there in person. Technology also allows remote medication management and the monitoring of blood pressure, blood sugar, heart rhythm and weight.
Current technology has the added benefit of providing critical contact without requiring as many manhours as in the past. Perhaps the greatest challenge for home health and home care business operators today is finding sufficient staffing to cover current needs. Technology expands those precious resources.
Interestingly, the desire to stay in the home as long as possible seems to be consistent across all ethnic groups and across the urban/suburban/rural continuum. And, while senior living and assisted living communities provide most of the basic needs for living, clearly staying at home as long as possible is the overwhelming choice of seniors today. In-home help in the form of nursing or non-medical assistance makes this possible for many.