“In the last 10 years, there’s been this push to try to get people long-term care in a home setting, and particularly their own home,” Bowblis said. “Home health aides play a very important part in allowing people to … stay at home longer.”1
However, the Home-Based Care Pain Points and Opportunities in 2022 report from Home Health Care News (HHCN) and AlayaCare found that 80% of surveyed home health and home care providers indicated they are turning away referrals due to employee churn and staffing capacity.2
The Cost of Quality: Caregivers
Clearly, attracting and retaining in-home caregivers has become a significant challenge in today’s tight labor market. In order to meet the ever-increasing demand, wages need to rise to compete with non-healthcare jobs that require comparable education levels, such as customer service, retail or hospitality.
2021 Median Pay
Source: Occupational Outlook Handbook from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
|Home Health and Personal Care Aides3|
$14.15 per hour
$29,430 per year
|Customer Service Representative4|
$17.75 per hour
$36,920 per year
|Information Clerks (e.g. Hotel Front Desk)5|
$18.01 per hour
$37,450 per year
The Cost of Quality: Nurses
The Nurse Salary Research Report from Nurse.com,6 revealed that 25% of all nurse respondents (RNs, APRNs, LPNs/LVNs) indicated their salaries grew during the pandemic. In addition to the higher salaries reported by RNs and LPNs themselves, the overall cost of employing high-quality nurses for in-home health care also includes significant signing bonuses, benefits, training and general operating costs.
But it wasn’t just changes in the healthcare sector — the entire U.S. economy experienced (and is still experiencing) soaring inflation. According to SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management), in May of 2022, we hit the highest inflation rate in 40 years, pushing wages up with bigger and more frequent pay raises for employees.7
While the overall inflation rate was reported at 8.6%, gas was up 48.7%, drastically affecting nurses and caregivers who help clients in their homes. Often driving up to 40 miles round trip to see a client, in-home providers aren’t able to work remotely like others in today’s workforce.
Home Care Headwinds
The industry-wide staffing challenge is quantified in HHCN’s Pain Points report, which polled 145 home health and home care providers between December 15, 2021 and January 10, 2022. Recruiting and hiring — followed by employee retention and churn — are the top business inefficiencies reported by home-based care providers. As you can see by the chart below, turnover rates have increased each year.
|National Average Turnover Rates8|
|Home Care Aides|| ||36.53%||38.05%|
Source: 2021-2022 Home Care Salary & Benefits Report from Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Service (HCS). The report is published in cooperation wiht the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC).
Quality Care Solutions
Home care providers truly want to deliver the best care possible to their clients and their families, but the reality is that it’s costing employers more to recruit, hire and retain high-quality caregivers.2
of respondents reported an increase in the cost of care due to staffing shortages.
of respondents reported they increased the use of contract labor to mitigate staffing shortages in 2021.
As with many things in life, “you get what you pay for,” which is why it’s crucial for in-home care companies to offer compensation that attracts and rewards at-home caregivers. When nurses and caregivers are paid well and receive meaningful benefits, clients reap the rewards of high-quality, happy providers.
Other ways to ensure that clients receive quality assistance at home include:
- offering robust training and development for caregivers,
- providing career paths for continued growth,
- investing in technology to improve the employee experience,
- creating a culture of connection and support for nurses and caregivers,
- utilizing contracted caregivers.
Concerned family members are extremely appreciative of those friendly, skilled and helpful caregivers who assist their loved ones with activities of daily living — so they can remain in their homes longer. We make it possible.