Author: Kody Johnston
Posted: December 12, 2023
In the realm of home health and hospice care, the clinical workforce is the backbone that supports the delivery of quality services. Post-acute care’s ability to meet quality outcomes are directly proportional to the clinicians the industry employs, the operational leadership that oversees day-to-day management, and innovation that enterprises leverage to meet growing challenges.
Recently, the post-acute industry has faced severe shortages and workforce limitations that have a direct impact on patient care. With an ever-growing number of rate cuts from the federal government focusing on Medicare payor sources, post-acute providers must be innovative in their approach to clinical operations, considering new technology to assist the clinical workforce. Workforce shortages are seemingly here to stay; understanding the conditions influencing these issues is the first step. Agencies armed with knowledge of root causes gain the upper hand in considering advancement strategy and possible investments towards success.
Facing the Challenge: Clinical Workforce Shortages
The multifaceted struggle with staffing and retention is propelled by several factors, including a rapidly aging population with evolving healthcare needs, an increased demand for home-based services driven by the preference for aging in place, and the unfortunate ongoing reality of burnout plaguing the already limited pool of professionals. The post-acute industry finds itself at the crossroads of increased demand and decreased supply, which has exacerbated the staffing problem to a substantial degree in recent years. According to the World Health Organization, there is a projected shortfall of 12.9 million healthcare workers worldwide by 2035. In an already struggling industry, this anticipated shortage poses a significant threat to the industry's ability to meet the evolving healthcare needs of an aging population. It no longer is up for debate, more innovative solutions and workforce strategies for recruitment are essential for the survival of the post-acute care industry.
The fallout of this workforce crisis heavily affects employee satisfaction, furthermore, profoundly limiting the quality and availability of patient care services. Overburdened clinicians struggle with extreme patient-to-clinician ratios along with the unique needs of delivering care in the home setting. On average, post-acute clinicians drive anywhere from 30-120 miles per day to see their patient load. Delays in delivering services become commonplace as the demand for care intensifies and logistical difficulties plague the workforce. The weight of caregiving often extends to overburdened family members who step into the breach of this gap should operational challenges or life-threatening situations occur.
The most distressing effect is the possibility of negative consequences in delays of care or at worse, refusal of care. As clinical resources run thin, agencies are often left with no choice but to delay care to later that day or another day regarding patients in need. A report by the National Association for Home Care & Hospice underlines this stark reality, revealing that a staggering 66% of agencies have had to turn patients away. The consequences are severe, leaving vulnerable individuals without the essential care they require. These workforce shortages generate a ripple effect that extends to the availability, quality, and accessibility of services, ultimately influencing the well-being of the patients who rely on these essential offerings.
As we navigate the complexities of the clinical workforce crisis, it becomes evident that innovative solutions are imperative. Post-acute enterprises must explore the realms of tech-enabled solutions that are effective, and simple for clinicians while solving operational burdens in the job sector. Leveraging technology, such as NOTIFYnana, becomes not just an option but a necessity to bridge the gaps, enhance patient care, and provide relief to an industry confronting a profound and far-reaching challenge.
With ever-changing conditions in post-acute care, providers are continually put into situations where doing more with less is imperative for success. MHA remains the strategic partner to assist with navigation throughout these trying times. Our industry-leading experts bring a wealth of knowledge, bridging any gap your agency may encounter. With cohesive strategic recommendations and tech-enabled management, your agency will receive the necessary direction to continue growth and scalability. If you’re ready to adapt and grow amid continued uncertainty, reach out today at [email protected] or visit www.maxwellhca.com.