By: Sarah Mattes, Marketing Coordinator, Open Arms Solutions
2020 has been a year full of unknown challenges and constant adapting worldwide. COVID-19 has not only presented industries with different hurdles to overcome, but also the opportunity to grow from them. The home care industry has made the changes necessary to continue to provide for clients and caregivers and embrace these new growth opportunities.
Over the last nine months, we have observed three areas of growth in home care companies: increased awareness and demand, confidence in remote work, and a competitive job market.
When the COVID-19 outbreak first began in March, senior facilities were reporting high numbers of positive cases, causing widespread fear among family members for the safety of their loved ones. This fear spiked an increase in awareness of home care services and the many advantages of aging at home, with the biggest and most relevant advantage being limited outside exposure to the virus. Families discovered that the tools and care needed for their loved ones to be safe and comfortable at home were and will continue to be available to them. We expect this demand for in-home services to continue to grow as we head into the new year, as more families are understanding that home can be the safest and healthiest option for their loved ones.
Alongside the increase in awareness about the benefits of home care, there has also been a drastic change in the way operations take place. The pandemic has changed the way our society interacts and functions. For home care, this means transitioning from in-person visits and assessments to virtual interactions; this hurdle was easily resolved with help from digital platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and many more. Operations teams were able to supervise clients and caregivers using virtual meetings and consistent phone calls, and Sales teams were able to conduct new client assessments safely using the same tools. All in all, the home care industry has undoubtedly found a new sense of confidence and success in utilizing these technologies that will continue even after the pandemic has ended.
The demand for quality healthcare workers has always been high, but with the increased demand for home care services, the need for caregivers and CNAs has skyrocketed. This competitive job market has created both an opportunity and a challenge for the home care industry. The opportunity lies in reducing caregiver turnover. Home care companies have the chance to create new rewards and forms of appreciation to encourage their caregivers to continue working with them through this economic recession. Reducing caregiver turnout is a process that will continue beyond COVID-19. The greatest challenge we are facing as an industry is a shortage of home care workers. As more and more Baby Boomers age and therefore need care, there will be a constant need for more home care workers. As an industry, we must continue to encourage each other to pursue caregiving long-term, but we foresee the need of workers being a continuing challenge.
Looking back at 2020, we have learned many things: adaptability, resilience, and compassion for others. In spite of the challenges COVID-19 has presented, we are grateful that home care continues to grow and keep our clients safe. We look forward to continuing to develop solutions that will benefit our industry and those we serve.