A Weak Labor Pool to Meet Significant Demand for In-Home Health Care

Locally, it isn’t just primary care doctors in Rockville that are in demand — the market for home health care is witnessing a marked boom. Many factors are contributing to the uptick in demand for home health care; the most talked about among these are relatively recent federal laws aimed at capping rates of patient readmissions at hospitals, bolstered government support for in-home health care, and a public that’s gradually drifting away from nursing homes.

However, a person’s having settled on engaging an in-home caregiver for health care needs does not imply that that same person will not also be on the lookout for a quality family practitioner in Gaithersburg, or any other surrounding town. Quite the contrary, in-home health care tends to work in conjunction with regular doctor visits. Experts in the field of home health care predict that current patient demand will only increase in the future as the country’s population ages and life expectancy increases.

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Beyond the present debates concerning the most effective arrangements for a genuinely functioning hospital practice, people paying attention to health care matters are also rather breathlessly relating to anyone within earshot of another problem: finding the qualified labor pool that will meet the in-home health care demand increases.

As the source of their concerns, these folks are pointing to an insufficient availability, and general support, for proper job training for individuals willing to fill up these positions. Moreover, the pay for those on track to carry forth in this career is not the most generous: a 2009 review showed that their median hourly pay rate was $10.58 — in contrast, the hourly pay rate median of all American workers is $15.95. Only to make matters worse, once in-home caregivers surmount the typical hiring hurdles, they can expect to find poor working conditions, which more often than not result in high turnover rates — something that is never good for the person receiving the care.