Analysts and advisors have regularly cited the in-home care industry as a wise investment, thanks to continued growth and projected demand. Even now, in-home caregivers play a vital role in the daily lives of seniors and individuals with mobility challenges, especially in light of social distancing and shelter-in-place orders. For those who have been considering joining Homewatch CareGivers® as a franchise owner, we look at some of the factors affecting the continued demand for home care services and how the industry is adapting to the current environment.
Keeping Seniors Out of Institutional Settings
Seniors and those living with chronic illness or compromised immune systems are at a higher risk when it comes to complications from COVID-19, so prevention is critical. Much has been written about the challenges faced by skilled nursing facilities and other facilities designed to care for seniors in a group setting, where it becomes difficult to stop the transmission of the virus among those most vulnerable. Because of this, more seniors and their families may opt for in-home care, predicts Warren Herbert, CEO of the Home Care Association of Louisiana, in a story for NBC News.
Many families are currently home more than they have been previously, and so they are taking on caregiver roles for aging loved ones. As the country begins to reopen, the opportunity exists for professional caregivers to step in and fill the role, allowing seniors to remain at home rather than in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities, where The New York Times reports it’s more difficult to control exposure to illness.
There is a certain synergy between health care professionals and in-home care providers, demonstrating the essential role caregivers play in the health and wellness of seniors and those living with illness or mobility issues. This synergy can be seen in the collaboration and networking between hospitals, payers, and home care providers to keep seniors safe and alleviate some of the pressure in acute-care settings.
Adapting to New Procedures
While in-home care services are still in demand, many aspects of the way care is provided have changed. Perhaps most obvious is the increased use of PPE, such as masks, to help prevent transmission of disease. Beyond that, telehealth and telemedicine offer virtual avenues for care, and thanks to Medicare waivers for regulations surrounding the types of visits eligible for reimbursement, more seniors are taking advantage of telemedicine that ever before. Below are some of the ways the in-home care industry is adapting to new guidelines and recommendations.
Caregivers can help seniors or those with limited fine motor skills to attend telehealth or telemedicine appointments with their primary care physician, specialist, or other medical professional for non-urgent matters. If within the scope of duties, the in-home caregiver may act as an advocate for the senior or provide additional input and observations to the medical professional regarding the individual’s condition.
Protecting Themselves and Their Clients
The in-home care industry remains committed to protecting caregivers and clients, now more than ever. When possible, caregivers should be limiting the number of clients they visit and utilizing personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and gloves. They should also wash their hands frequently and stay home if they are sick. Beyond physical protection from disease transmission, caregivers should pay extra attention to the mental health and mood of those for whom they provide care. Seniors who already experienced loneliness may feel even more isolated during these times of social distancing.
Growing to Meet the Expanding Need
With concerns about care facilities and disease transmission, many families may be seeking in-home care for their loved ones, be they seniors who require extra care to remain in their home or those who have recovered from COVID-19 and no longer require hospitalization. Home care businesses may need to bring on additional employees to meet the growing need.
Building Trust through Communication
As is always the case, communication is vital to a successful caregiving relationship. Now especially, home care providers should be communicating safety measures to concerned families to ease their minds.