We know the pandemic has strengthened the desire of older clients to receive health care at home. We know the rise of Telemedicine is helping to make this possible. Plus, our population continues to age; the number of Americans age 65+ grew by more than one third in the last 10 years. The confluence of these factors forecasts rising demand for medically directed home care. Here are 5 trends to watch during 2021.

The 5 aspects of home care to watch

1. Total cost of care will become critical

Home care providers will need to create more transparency around care-related expenses in order to compete. SNFs and ALFs (skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities) will be pressured to demonstrate value based on detailed definitions of the care they deliver. Home care providers will need to do the same.

2. Home care for dementia will evolve as a care discipline

The estimated 50 million cases of worldwide dementia is expected to double in 20 years, and already 1 in 9 people age 65+ face a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. To make matters more difficult, dementia is notoriously hard to detect in primary care settings. Research indicates it goes undiscovered as much as 66% of the time. This could lead to treating more people suffering from dementia at home with nonpharmacological measures.

1 in 9
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With nearly 1 in 9 people age 65+ facing a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, we can anticipate that the field of “memory care” and dementia care in general will expand into home care.

3. More home care will be medically directed

The home care category is populated by different types of agencies. Many provide home health aides whose service is confined to assisting with ADLs and family caregiver respite. But almost 50% of home care clients suffer from 5+ chronic conditions, such as asthma, arthritis, diabetes or heart disease. This clearly forecasts the need for home care that is under the supervision of an RN.

Shades of Gray: Growing old at home

1 in 4 home health patients is age 85+

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According to the 2020 Home Health Chartbook, U.S. home care consumers are often much older and sicker than we think.

4. Caregiver burnout will have a strong impact on home care

As older clients seek to age in place, family caregivers will continue to experience adverse mental health conditions, with depression and anxiety leading the list. Social and financial pressures can make matters worse. This is especially true when home care for dementia is involved. When advising clients, we feel it’s essential to gauge the resources of the family caregiver accurately.

5. Hypertension will continue to be “the neglected disease.”

Some studies indicate the lifetime risk of developing hypertension is as high as 90% for people age 55-65. Yet, while it causes more than 7.0 million premature deaths annually, hypertension has been called “a neglected disease” and remains the 2nd leading cause of death among Americans, many of them age 65+. Home care services will need to address medication management and lifestyle factors – diet, activity, weight control, sodium intake, and others – to reduce cardiovascular risks. For those interested, here’s a short blog on how SeniorBridge helps manage hypertension.

The integrated care management model by SeniorBridge

Home care services vary widely in the services they provide.

SeniorBridge offers an integrated care management practice model that involves two components:

  1. Clinical care (under the direction of an RNCM/Registered Nurse Care Manager) supported by a Social Worker and a team of caregivers, based on patient’s needs and
  2. A portfolio of home care services and geriatric care management in such areas as nutrition, caregiver education, benefit coordination, transportation, and coordination with discharge planners, physicians, pharmacy, home health agencies, and care managers.

NOTE: We have full COVID-19 safety protocols in place to keep clients, families and associates safe.

For more information on medically directed home care, contact SeniorBridge.

Sources consulted:
US Census News (2020)
Paying for Senior Care (2021)
InTechOpen (2014)
Home Healthcare News (2021)
Alliance for Home Health Quality & Innovation (2020)
National Library of Medicine. NIH/Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience (2009)
Wiley Online Library/Clinical Cardiology (2019)

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