As Home Care Expands, Let’s Make It Safer For Everyone

The Rise In Home Care

There are many reasons for the rise in home care. The US has a rapidly growing population of older adults, many of whom want to remain in their own homes but require help to do so. It is usually less costly to provide care at home than within a health care setting, and technology is allowing for a broader range of care—even complex care—to be delivered at home.

Likewise, it’s not hard to understand why people often prefer to be cared for at home. Home is the care recipient’s territory. It’s a place where they are accustomed to making decisions and running the show. As such, it allows for a greater sense of autonomy and for the care provider to focus on the care recipient’s goals and wishes—in other words, to practice person-centered care. Additionally, it’s often easier for people to maintain their social, community, and family ties from their own home.

Home care offers other clear benefits as well: Care recipients may achieve greater comfort, control of pain and anxiety, and better sleep, and may be less likely to experience serious complications such as infections or confusion. And workers who come into the home can assess factors that contribute to sustained health and recovery, such as nutrition.

As of 2016, there were about two million personal care attendants in the US, a figure that is expected to grow by 40 percent over the next 10 years. Almost 144,000 skilled professionals(registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, vocational nurses, and social workers) work as employees of some 12,400 home health agencies. Agency-based workers care for nearly five million people in the US each year. Independent personal care attendants and other home care workers who work independently care for many more. Given that ongoing home care is often not covered by insurance and the cost is prohibitive to many, a large amount of home care is provided solely by family members or by the care recipient themselves: About 43 million people in the US provide unpaid care to an adult or child each year, according to research from AARP.

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Written by: Tejal Gandhi, Alice Bonner, Stephen Muething, Caitlin Lorincz, Patricia McTiernan. (SOURCE)

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