No industry was left unscathed by the havoc that the COVID-19 crisis wreaked. Countless stories both in the media and in real life show the heavy toll the pandemic placed on healthcare workers, healthcare facility workers, and everyone working in the medical industry. The senior-care industry is no exception, but thankfully, home-care services across the United States remain committed to providing the best possible care for the elderly and the terminally ill. Here are some senior living and home-care trends to watch out for this 2021, in light of the COVID-19 crisis and how it affected the whole world.
Bigger demand for healthcare facility workers
Studies show that the number of U.S. citizens aged 65 years old and older is projected to double from 2018 to 2060, which means there will be a growing demand for more facilities such as assisted living and home care. This demand will be accompanied by a shortage in staffing, which means that there will be a need to find more workers who want to take on the noble task of caring for our senior and terminally ill loved ones.
And because Americans are also experiencing longer life spans, the demand for senior care will continue to grow in the next few decades or so. As the population of senior citizens grows exponentially, so will the senior-care industry. There will be more opportunities for entrepreneurs who want to start their own assisted-living or home-care agencies, especially if they see that there is already so much demand today as the evolving nature of the pandemic continues to place a strain on embattled facilities.
Staffing shortage will be solved by technological solutions
Even before the pandemic, we have already seen the growing relationship between medicine and technology. The COVID-19 crisis accelerated this relationship even further. It’s no surprise, then, that this trend found its way into the home-care industry, with multiple facilities finding ways to solve various kinds of staffing crises. Since many facilities had already experienced some form of staffing shortage even before COVID-19 hit our shores, these problems were aggravated even more in the past year and a half.
Technology can help combat these problems as assisted-living professionals do the following:
- Identifying the key inefficiencies in the facility. Since these businesses often have patients whose needs change frequently, those who manage these facilities need to stay on top of these frequent and sudden changes and adjust accordingly. Technology can help by automating schedule creation, but at the same time, the operators also need to adjust the schedules manually to ensure that fluctuating acuity and populations are properly supported. Instead of just letting the software do all the work, the operators must work with the tech tools to ensure better efficiency and a more convenient workflow.
- The technology should also be deployed to automatically adjust and create schedules to support resident acuity and patient-per-day census values. Assisted-living staff members can also rely on the software to help them recommend qualified employees who can do their shifts and work overtime.
- All in all, technology will help with compliance management, employee attendance, integrated scheduling. It will also provide solutions to the staff’s scheduling problems. While these tools will not fully help solve staffing shortages, they will certainly help identify the root causes.
Home-care facilities will embrace digital solutions
We have already seen how pivoting to the digital world can save businesses in our post-pandemic world, and the senior-care industry is no exception. If any facility wants to be a player for the long term, they need to be able to embrace technology not just to keep up with the times but also to optimize their day-to-day operations and be better equipped to handle future hurdles.
Digital solutions will help home-care services with their customer support, scheduling and attendance automation, and even keeping their patients healthy and safe during times like the COVID-19 crisis. These facilities will then partner with software professionals who can help them navigate this new world since digitization does not always come naturally for all types of businesses. This year, we can expect to see more partnerships between the tech world and various sectors of the healthcare industry.
Home-care service is one of the best things we can provide for our elderly or terminally ill loved ones because we can be sure of the type of care they will receive. They will continue to be treated with dignity in the twilight of their lives. As long as assisted-living professionals continue to embrace trends that can help propel them, they will continue to work hand in hand with families who need their help the most.