Category Archives: Home Health Workers

Elder Care Is a Looming Crisis. Hawaii Is Facing It Head-On

Source: Christina Cauterucci, Slate, Better Life Lab blog, June 5, 2017

…. If Gov. David Ige signs this legislation, people who work at least 30 hours a week outside the home and serve their kupuna as primary caregivers will be eligible for up to $70 a day in help from trained home aides. The Kupuna Caregiver Assistance Program would help a family caregiver continue to work outside the home, get some necessary breaks in caregiving work, and give her the money to pay a fair wage to the care workers she hires. It’s an important step toward meeting the needs of a fast-aging population and the family members who are expected—but too often financially unequipped—to shoulder the burden…..
Related:
Hawaii Long-Term Health-Care Bill Serves as National Model
Source: Rachel M. Cohen, American Prospect, January 12, 2016

Hawaii legislators are tackling the nation’s elder care crisis head-on with a bill that would offer universal long term care to the state’s senior citizens.

Implementation of a resident handling programme and low back pain in elder care workers

Source: Andreas Holtermann, Occupational & Environmental Medicine, Volume 74, Issue 6, 2016
(subscription required)

From the introduction:
Low back pain (LBP) is the most important contributor to number of years lived with a disability and a major risk factor for sickness absence and work disability. Occupational groups with physically demanding work, like healthcare workers, have particularly high prevalence of LBP, and a considerable fraction of the LBP is considered to be caused by work-related factors. Moreover, LBP is a particular barrier for sustainable employment among workers with physically demanding work. Therefore, implementation of equipment (mechanical lifts or other assistive devices) for reducing the mechanical loading of healthcare workers during manual handling of residents should theoretically be efficient for preventing LBP and sickness absence among those with LBP. However, interventions implementing equipment for reducing the mechanical loading on healthcare workers during manual handling of residents show conflicting results on LBP. This might be due to the relatively short follow-up period of previous intervention studies introducing equipment for manual handling, which may need longer time before being fully implemented in an organisation. Moreover, it can be caused by lacking repetitive measures of both the implementation of the intervention as well as the often fluctuating level of LBP. Thus, there is a research gap in the documentation of the effects on LBP

Home and community-based service and other senior service use: Prevalence and characteristics in a national sample

Source: Amanda Sonnega, Kristen Robinson, Home Health Care Services Quarterly, Latest Articles, Published online: 07 Dec 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
We report on the use of home and community-based services (HCBS) and other senior services and factors affecting utilization of both among Americans over age 60 in the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). Those using HCBS were more likely to be older, single, Black, lower income, receiving Medicaid, and in worse health. Past use of less traditional senior services, such as exercise classes and help with tax preparation, were found to be associated with current use of HCBS. These findings suggest use of less traditional senior services may serve as a “gateway” to HCBS that can help keep older adults living in the community.

State of Care: Minnesota’s Home Care Landscape

Source: PHI, 2017

From the press release:
PHI released a research report this week on the home care landscape in Minnesota, examining the state’s home care workforce and highlighting trends in the broader sector.

The report—State of Care: Minnesota’s Home Care Landscape—was released at a May 2 “workforce solutions” conference hosted by LeadingAge Minnesota, which gathered nearly 300 workforce and aging professionals statewide. PHI partnered with LeadingAge Minnesota to host a May 1 panel presentation where leaders throughout the state spoke about home care and the new report.
Related:
Summary
Slideshow

Frequency and Risk of Occupational Health and Safety Hazards for Home Healthcare Workers

Source: Rassull Suarez, Noma Agbonifo, Beverly Hittle, Kermit Davis, Andrew Freeman, Home Health Care Management & Practice, First Published April 17, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Given the increased prevalence of chronic disease and health care costs, more individuals are treated in the home, which has augmented the demand for more Home Healthcare Workers (HHCWs) in the field. HHCWs face multiple hazards with injury rates being more than double the national average; however, current studies on HHCWs have provided limited understanding of their occupational safety & health experiences and exposures. The aim of this study was to assess the frequency and risk of exposures through perceptions of HHCWs. The results of this study provide an initial picture of the different risks that HHCWs face daily. These findings show that studies involving HHCWs occupational safety need to be job-specific, and the proposed interventions will also likely need to be tailored by HHCWs type.

The Impact of Work/Family Conflict and Workplace Social Support on Mental Distress in Home Health Workers

Source: Ahyoung Lee, Yuri Jang, Home Health Care Management & Practice, OnlineFirst, First Published April 11, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The study explored the role of work/family conflict and workplace social support in predicting home health workers’ mental distress using a sample of home health workers in Central Texas (n = 150). The result of multivariate analysis showed that work/family conflict increased mental distress, while client support and organizational support decreased mental distress. In addition to the direct effects, client support was found to buffer the negative impact of work/family conflict. Findings call attention to the ways to reduce work/family conflict and increase workplace social support in efforts to promote home health workers’ mental well-being.

Federal Policy Priorities: Strengthening the Direct Care Workforce

Source: Robert Espinoza, PHI, 2017

From the abstract:
A federal investment in the direct care workforce would promote better wages and benefits, enhance training, and create advanced roles. It would also regularly collect data on the workforce, expand access to services and supports, and thread the contributions of family caregivers with those of paid caregivers, ultimately creating a vibrant system of care. In response, PHI has released a new federal policy report that details recommendations across these issues. This report speaks to a new presidential administration and a new Congress about the needs of direct care workers—and the millions of older people and people with disabilities they serve.
Related:
Summary

The Impact of the Affordable Care Act on Health Coverage for Direct Care Worker

Source: Stephen Campbell, PHI, Issue Brief, March 2017

From the summary:
Direct care workers—nursing assistants, home health aides, and personal care aides who support older Americans and people with disabilities—are among America’s lowest paid workers, often struggling to access health coverage. However, new coverage numbers show that this workforce benefited substantially from the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Between 2010 and 2014, half a million direct care workers gained coverage. At the same time, the uninsured rate across this workforce decreased by 26 percent. As the Trump administration and the new Congress consider the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid, it is important to consider the impact of these changes on this critical U.S. workforce.

Competition and Gaming Behavior by Medicare Home Health Agencies in the United States

Source: Hyunjee Kim, Bingxiao Wu, Jeah Jung, OnlineFirst, Home Health Care Management & Practice, First Published December 5, 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Under the Medicare home health prospective payment system, agencies could make large profits by targeting the 10th therapy visit. The objective of this study is to examine the influence of market competition on home health agencies’ targeting the 10th therapy visit. This article uses changes in competition rates within each market over time to examine whether home health agencies were more likely to target the 10th visit under greater competition. No significant associations were found between competition and agencies’ targeting behavior on average, but competition effects on targeting behavior were significantly greater for freestanding agencies that were likely to be in relatively financially disadvantageous positions. These findings suggest that competition might increase financially unstable agencies’ 10th-visit targeting behavior, potentially leading to unnecessary Medicare spending.

60 Caregiver Issues

Source: PHI, 2017

In 2017, PHI began identifying the most pressing policy issues facing direct care workers. Our research, unique industry expertise, and partnerships with state and national leaders aptly position us to address a worsening concern: direct care workers are walking away from this sector at a time when we need critical supports to age in our homes and communities. In turn, families and the agencies that serve them are left with few options.

Recognizing a growing workforce shortage among our nation’s home care aides, nursing aides, and personal care aides, as well as the need to provide quality care to a rapidly growing population of older people and people with disabilities, PHI launched a national campaign: 60 Caregiver Issues.

Over the course of two years, PHI will release a new issue every 2-3 weeks, inspiring policy makers and long-term care leaders to pinpoint what needs to be done to remedy this shortage and create a vibrant, sustainable system of long-term care.