Hospice care facilities are currently encountering distinct hurdles when it comes to recruiting and retaining skilled staff members. Industry-wide staffing shortages and high healthcare worker turnover coupled with a growing senior population are putting significant pressure on the home health industry.
Agencies wishing to combat these issues need modern solutions that can meet the evolving needs of home health caregivers. To help facilitate this process, let’s discuss the core problems impacting the hospice care workforce.
The Current Home Health Landscape
To tackle the pressing challenges limiting the post-acute industry, particularly within the realm of hospice care, agencies must prioritize attracting and retaining skilled home health professionals. Here are some of the biggest challenges home health agencies currently face:
The health industry is currently facing a severe and potentially crippling staffing shortage. If projections remain unchanged, the U.S. will experience a deficit of 200,000 to 450,000 registered nurses (RNs) needed to fill crucial healthcare positions by 2025. Fierce competition for qualified medical professionals in a shrinking talent pool has made it increasingly difficult for hospice care facilities to remain adequately staffed.
The pandemic left the healthcare industry subject to record-breaking turnover rates and qualified care roles, such as registered nurses (RNs) and hospital workers, were significantly affected. Throughout the pandemic, dedicated health care workers endured overwhelming workloads, leading to a significant level of burnout. Their job satisfaction and mental well-being suffered due to a lack of support mechanisms to combat fatigue and cynicism, highlighting the pressing need for sustainable strategies to safeguard the workforce’s overall health and job satisfaction. A staggering 100,000 RNs younger than 35 years old decided to leave the workforce in 2021, with burnout as the primary reason for their departure. This exodus has led to considerable disruptions in the availability and efficacy of specialized care.
Aging Population Crisis
Thanks to major advancements in modern medicine, the U.S. is witnessing an unprecedented surge in its senior population, with the last group of baby boomers reaching retirement age. As it stands, seniors over the age of 65 are projected to comprise over 22% of the total US population by 2050. This growth rate poses a massive challenge for hospice care facilities that are already grappling with low resources. Meeting the demands of seniors’ specialized care requires an adequate supply of qualified RNs and caregivers. However, with staff shortages and high turnover rates, these demands could go unmet.
What Workers Value Most Isn’t Being Delivered
The hospice care industry faces another major setback rooted in the sense of unfulfillment among its workers. The demanding nature of healthcare, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, has pushed healthcare workers to their limits.
More than three years out from the pandemic, both experienced caregivers and new generations of healthcare workers are calling for a change. Today’s workforce seeks quality-of-life perks and benefits that are non-negotiable:
- Work life balance
- Reasonable workloads
- Career advancement
To attract and retain valuable workers, hospice care facilities must be willing to adapt. This involves creating a workplace environment that fosters growth and emphasizes the worth of each staff member.
How Your Agency Can Course Correct These Issues
As the world emerges from the pandemic and reaches a new equilibrium, it’s advised that hospice care facilities implement lasting, worker-centric strategies to increase employee retention rates. Prioritizing the well-being and satisfaction of their employees will be vital in addressing these problems present in the medical field.
While these changes must align with job satisfaction efforts, they don’t have to be unreasonable for your business. They can be as simple as showcasing RN and care workers’ value by offering competitive benefits or fostering a supportive work environment. Agencies should be encouraged to promote career advancement opportunities through ongoing training to allow staff members to experience that sense of accomplishment they feel is lacking.
Ready to start investing in the success of your staff? Contact our team of home hospice specialists to begin drafting your customized recruitment and retention plan.