The healthcare industry knew COVID-19 would cause changes in critical areas, and a heightened awareness of home healthcare emerged as one of those.
In conjunction with The Harris Poll, Interim Healthcare wanted to assess consumers’ feelings about home healthcare and whether the pandemic had altered their perceptions.
The two companies conducted a Home Health Insights Study from September 14 to 16, 2021. The study population consisted of 2,070 adults 18 and older, including 186 licensed medical professionals.
The results indicate more knowledge and participation from the healthcare professionals, which some may not find surprising.
One major finding: Most Americans really don’t “get” what home healthcare is and does, including how it can provide care for chronic and complex medical care needs.
A Third of Us Have Used It
The paper states that, among Americans, when it comes to home healthcare:
- 30 percent or about a third have used it for themselves or a loved one
- 66 percent of licensed medical professionals have done so
- 26 percent have taken that first step and spoken to a healthcare provider about it
- 64 percent of licensed medical professionals did this
- 19 percent have served as an unpaid caregiver to a friend or family member at least once since the pandemic’s start
- 48 percent of licensed medical professionals have done the same
Not Just for Seniors Anymore
This paper showcases misconceptions among the American public about the wide applicability of home healthcare:
- 29 percent or nearly a third think only seniors and aging adults use home healthcare
- 74 percent think hospice care comes only at end-of-life stage or when death is inevitable
- 28 percent don’t think of home healthcare as an option for caring for those with various chronic health conditions
- 62 percent don’t know it can help the medically complex, a percentage that applies to conditions such as ALS and spinal cord injuries
- Only 44 percent of Americans and 45 percent of licensed medical professionals think it can be used for long-term pediatric care needs
Improves Quality of Life
Many older people would prefer not to spend their final days outside of their home:
- 79 percent ages 65+ think it would improve their quality of life significantly compared to care in a hospital or nursing home
- 90 percent of licensed medical professionals are open-minded about this, and would always consider this option for patient care and recovery
- 82 percent of Americans want services from a single company that can provide medical and non-medical support instead of from multiple companies
Pandemic Fostered Reflection
Many studies have documented the hardships upon healthcare professionals during COVID, and the range of extremely difficult situations they encountered. The study documents changes in attitude that resulted from these experiences:
- 74 percent of licensed medical professionals say they’ve thought about switching to home healthcare at least once
- 71 percent say that would enable a reconnection with why they chose healthcare for their career
- 67 percent of Americans credit the pandemic with changing their thinking about healthcare options
- 82 percent say they would rather pass away at home versus in a hospital, more now than they did before the pandemic began
- 61 percent fear dying alone more now
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of home health and personal care aides will grow 33 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.
This article first appeared on Health eCareers. Reprinted with permission.