The way we care for our aging population is changing. In the past, it was common for seniors to...
The way we care for our aging population is changing. In the past, it was common for seniors to move to nursing homes where they would receive a combination of assistance with life's daily needs, such as moving, eating, and bathing, and consistent monitoring of medical conditions. Now, families and aging adults are overwhelmingly choosing alternatives to residential care.
Nursing Homes Are Struggling to Stay Afloat
Prior to the pandemic, nursing home occupancy rates were beginning to drop. Then, the devastating effects of COVID-19 not only left many nursing home beds empty, it shook the trust of families considering placing a loved one in nursing home care.
During the height of the pandemic, nursing home populations were especially vulnerable. In an effort to decrease exposure, most facilities enforced strict lockdown measures. While this helped slow the spread of the coronavirus, it also cut-off family members and led to staffing shortages.
As a result, occupancy rates at nursing homes are at all-time lows – currently hovering around 82 percent, the lowest rate since 2011. Rates are expected to continue to drop as Medicare and private insurance companies respond to requests that coverage is provided for the places and ways in which people want to live – namely, in community- and home-based settings.
This turn has been a long, slow move but it is happening. Thirty years ago, 90 percent of Medicaid dollars for long-term care went to institutions and only 10 percent to home- and community-based services. Now, the tables have turned, and nursing homes receive only 43 percent of Medicaid’s long-term care expenditures.
As a result of these significant occupancy decreases, many facilities are closing and those that remain open are caught in a vicious cycle. In an effort to cut costs, the facility cuts staff, which, in turn, diminishes the quality of care, causing more families to seek alternatives, leading to more empty beds – and the cycle continues.
Home Healthcare Experiencing Unprecedented Demand
As aging adults sidestep nursing homes, the demand for in-home care is rising. Many families are electing to share the responsibility of caring for loved ones with home healthcare providers. The challenge is in finding enough skilled workers to meet the demand.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected growth of jobs in healthcare settings through 2026 is 18 percent. However, the demand for home health and personal care aides will far outpace the sector’s growth, with an increase of 41 percent to more than 4 million jobs.
Searching for Alternative Solutions
How can families, nursing facilities, and home healthcare providers adjust to this changing landscape while providing for the health, safety, and long-term care of aging adults?
Remote monitoring is emerging as a viable, reliable, solution to staffing shortages and age-at-home demands. Continuous, remote monitoring allows caregivers, both family members and health workers, to stay in-touch with a client's health condition in-between home visits.
CareMate is a comprehensive remote monitoring solution that promotes trust between health care facilities and families by sharing vital statistics and allowing family members access to first-hand knowledge of their loved-ones well-being, even when they cannot visit.
It also allows facilities and home care agencies to simultaneously decrease workload on their current staff, while improving quality of care, and generating a new revenue stream.
CareMate monitors and collects the most vital information to deliver peace of mind to wearers, family members, and healthcare providers:
- Fall detection
- Activity (Walking, Sitting, Lying Down)
- Heart Rate
- Respiratory Function
- Skin Temperature
Ready to learn how CareMate can support the goals of your care facility or home healthcare agency? Contact us today!