United States Home Healthcare - Utilization
Some important insights into current utilization in home healthcare in the US include: most senior citizens use home-health nurses, home care services utilized are utilized mostly by women, short-term injuries spark a need for home health care, lifestyle illnesses is a big driver for home healthcare, demand may outpace supply for home caregivers, people spend a lot on home healthcare and it is set to increase, and the introduction of telehealth. All these insights are spoken of in more detail below.
Most senior citizens use home-health nurses
- A survey of over 1,600 caregivers shows that most senior citizens use home-health nurses (60%). In second place are physical therapists (59%) and in third are occupational therapists.
- 37% of clients were visited by at least one physician or nurse practitioner.
Home care services are utilized mostly by women
- Almost two-thirds, or 63.8% of home healthcare recipients, are women.
- Not only are care receivers mostly women, but caregivers are too. Sixty-six percent of home health caregivers are women.
- The typical caregiver is a 40-year-old woman who gives an average of 20 hours of caregiving work each week.
- Overall, women have higher healthcare utilization than men (source 8). Many healthcare utilizations happen after menopause for issues such as cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.
Short-term injuries spark a need for home health care
- According to the CDC, of the 12,400 home health agencies in the US that cared for 5 million people in 2014 (which is the most recent data available), many of the individuals needed short-term assistance after coming home from a hospital stay. Some of these conditions include illness and injury.
- Ongoing assistance is needed for more chronic conditions such as age and cognitive decline, as is seen in many senior citizens.
Lifestyle illnesses is a big driver for home healthcare
- Conditions that require home health care most frequently include diabetes, heart failure, chronic ulcer of the skin, osteoarthritis, and hypertension.
- For senior citizens, the medical conditions that cause them to require home care are a bit different. According to the Home Instead Senior Care's survey of home care professionals, their clients had at least one of these problems: mobility issues (61%), frailness (48%), some type of dementia (43%), Alzheimer's disease (29%), and the after-effects of stroke (22%).
Demand may outpace supply for home caregivers
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, from now until 2026, the growth of jobs in healthcare settings will be at 18%. However, demand for home health and personal care aides will outpace the sector's growth, with an increase of 41%.
- This growth in demand is because of a shift in the age of the American population. The US Census Bureau predicts that by 2030, Baby Boomers will outnumber children for the first time in history. The population that will be of retirement age will be 1 in every 5 residents. Currently, 69.1% of those who receive home health care are over the age of 65.
- As the population gets older, people of retirement age prefer to get care in their own homes. 90% of seniors want to stay in their homes as long as possible (source 1). This effect has been observed recently, as 2015 was the first time more money was spent on home care than nursing home care.
People spend a lot on home healthcare and it is set to increase
- In 2018, $103 billion was spent on home health care in the US. By 2026, that number will reach nearly $173 billion.
- Currently, the median annual cost per individual for home health care services is $50,336. Nursing homes and other assisted living facilities fall a little below at $48,000.
Future services: Telehealth
- Because of the impending dearth of workers in the home healthcare industry, agencies must now find ways to utilize technology to make up for this problem.
- One way agencies (HHAs) are currently looking into solving this problem is by way of telehealth technology. This technology helps agencies monitor, record, manage, and share data from the patient without the need for any in-person interaction.
- Even though older adults are more resistant to new technology, surveys have shown that senior citizens are open to telehealth. One survey points out that 66% of seniors were willing to use telehealth technology, even though only 8% currently had it.
- New features of telehealth will include telemedicine, where a doctor can remotely diagnose, monitor, and treat the patient, tele-education, monitoring devices such as fall protection belts, activity monitors, etc. A lot of it will be powered by AI.
To first look for insights into the utilization in home healthcare, we first sought to answer the questions that we were given to explain, such as future projections on the services that will be provided in the home and disease categories that drive most utilization. To answer these, we focused on each individually and used healthcare-related websites such as those belonging to the Health Department of the US, as well as publications such as US News, CNBC, and Home Healthcare News. After answering these questions, we sought more insights by reading up on the present trends and insights into modern home healthcare int he US. We picked topics based on the article using the word "utilization", as in the case of the insight "Home care services are utilized mostly by women." Others we judged eligibility based on if that factor directly affects how someone utilizes home healthcare. We were successful with this approach.