The home health care industry continues to grow as more aging Americans prefer to stay in their homes as long as possible. While this may sound like great news, many home care companies throughout the country are struggling to keep up with demand.
The primary challenge is the ability to hire and retain good quality staff. Traditionally, home health care has had higher turnover rates than many other industries. This is trending up as noted in an article by Home Health Care News in May of 2019. They report that the home care industry turnover is at an all-time high of 82%. Home care entities are searching for solutions to meet the rising demand for the services they provide. Two possible solutions are the use of telehealth and robotic caregivers.
Telehealth – remote patient monitoring – allows home health services to check in with their clients and even monitor vital signs without a personal visit. The growth in this new technology is partly because of changes to the Home Health Prospective Payment System administered by Medicare and Medicaid. Changes to the federal programs will allow for home health care entities to include the cost of remote patient monitoring in their cost report forms.
Even when a caregiver can’t be present, this format allows a client to connect with someone remotely and talk through any issues they might be experiencing. Some highly technical systems that monitor a client’s vital signs can pick up on changes and alert the home care service, allowing it to respond – sometimes even before the client knows they are having an issue.
Another fascinating solution involves the use of robotic caregivers, such as INF Robotics Inc’s Rudy.
Founder and CEO Anthony Nunez came up with the idea of Rudy after observing that his own grandmother was not receiving the care he felt she needed. Based in Fairfax, Virginia, Anthony and his team spent six years developing the technology.
Rudy has a screen placed near his chest that allows caregivers, family members and even physicians to control Rudy and talk through video conference.
Rudy can also:
- carry and keep track of items for the client
- play games and music to stimulate activity
- remind the client to take medications and keep appointments
And in an emergency, Rudy can call for help.
These solutions show great promise and have the potential to make life better for both the home care entities and their clients. Both are designed to augment the service of a caregiver, not replace it.
As home health care companies look for new ways to meet client needs while managing demand for workers, technology is one part of the equation. They also rely on the professional advice of a local, independent insurance agent to help evaluate risk management and insurance coverage.
This loss control information is advisory only. The author assumes no responsibility for management or control of loss control activities. Not all exposures are identified in this article. Contact your local, independent insurance agent for coverage advice and policy service.