Home health agencies across the U.S. are desperately seeking a solution to a national nursing shortage. Due to the ongoing crisis, the nursing shortage is making it more and more difficult for agencies to recruit and retain a sufficient number of licensed nurses and professionals to care for the ever-increasing patient load.
Aging Population in the U.S.
Healthcare in the U.S has been impacted by the nursing shortage for decades and is anticipated to continually worsen as baby boomers age.
According to the American Nursing Association, between 2010 and 2030, the number of Americans over the age of 65 will increase by 75 percent to 69 million, and by 2050 an estimated 88.5 million people will be aged 65 and older. With millions of baby boomers nearing retirement, the need for care will continue to increase, putting an even greater strain on the healthcare industry as a whole.
As the population ages and retires, so will nurses and healthcare professionals. Recent data from the American Nursing Association states that approximately one million nurses are currently over the age of 50, meaning that one-third of the current nursing workforce will reach retirement within the next 10 to 15 years. It is estimated that by 2024 approximately 700,000 nurses are projected to retire.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1.2 million empty positions will be vacant for registered nurses between 2014 and 2022, due to the nursing shortage crisis and retirement.
With a rapidly aging population in the U.S., surging incidence of chronic illness, insufficient compensation for nursing educators, limited acceptance of and resources for students in nursing programs due to shortage of educators and the aging nurse population, unfortunately the nursing shortage crisis is far from resolution.
Nursing Shortage Impacts Healthcare
With so many retiring in the coming years, healthcare has been challenged to scale and provide more efficient care to meet the ever-increasing demand.
Healthcare’s more traditional methods of care, such as hospitals, short-term care, long-term care facilities and nursing homes, have begun including more cost-effective, alternative methods like home healthcare.
Nine of ten Americans 65 and older want to stay at home for as long as possible, and 80 percent think their current home is where they will always live. Home healthcare offers the patient and the patient’s loved ones with greater independence to allow a lifestyle of flexibility while receiving care.
However, with the aging population desiring care in the home, the nursing shortage will impact home health agencies. The nursing shortage will disperse the already taxing workload amongst the few nurses available to care for patients.
For nurses working for home health agencies, this means there will be an increased expected weekly visit quota, increased territory and travel time to and from patients’ homes, tedious documentation, increased frustration, employee burn-out and decreased overall moral and retention of employees.
Consequences for the nursing shortage include: nurses are not able to complete their documentation on a timely basis; patient billing turnaround time decreases; overtime pay for staff and nurses may drastically increase; patient complaints may increase; and quality and compliance will suffer.
A shortage in home health nurses may require agencies to refuse new patients, jeopardizing their referral source and in turn stunting their business growth.
New Mobile App Provides Home Health Agencies and Nurses New Opportunities
Axxess recognizes the shortage of nurses and the increasingly high-demand on home health agencies to provide care for patients in the home.
AxxessCARE, a new mobile app, connects home health agencies to skilled professionals to provide timely exceptional care that is seamlessly integrated with Axxess’ software platform AgencyCore. Agencies may conveniently post opportunities for qualified professionals who can apply for visits ONLY after background checks and licensed verifications are complete.
Axxess is the key to home health success because we are leading innovation and our platform helps our customers focus on patient care, not paperwork. AxxessCARE is currently being tested in a pilot program in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. More information about this revolutionary tool will be shared in the coming months.