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Key Takeaways: Home Health Staffing Survey 2021

    How Staffing Remains to Be a Challenge

    Results from a recent online survey on home health staffing that was conducted between July 21 and August 6, 2021 have been released. 

    When the year started, staffing was identified as the top challenge for home health according to the 2021 Outlook Survey by Home Health Care News. As a follow-up, the recent survey specifically on staffing provides a deeper understanding of the impact of this year’s staffing challenge and how agencies are dealing with it.

    Key Takeaways

    1. Staff shortages outweigh other staffing pain points. 62% say their top challenge is recruitment and fulfillment for open positions; superseding retention, training, and remaining competitive.
    1. There is a direct correlation between staff shortages and business loss. 74% of respondents said they have had to turn patients away due to staffing shortages. In turn, loss of referral business is the third most significant impact of staff turnover.
    1. 25% of respondents said census decline is the most significant impact of staffing turnover, followed by 23% identifying increased costs to replace staff as the second most significant impact.
    1. Nurses, caregivers, home health aides, and certified nursing assistants are the disciplines that have been most impacted by staff shortages. 
    1. Aside from meeting staff needs such as work-life balance and increased compensation, home health providers are also prioritizing growth and professional development, with more than 77% of survey participants saying that their organization could benefit from investing in staff training and development.

    Addressing These Challenges

    Home-based care has always been proactive in confronting employee turnover and staffing challenges. However, staff shortages have reached an unprecedented high during the pandemic resulting in new hurdles that need to be resolved. Traditional recruitment strategies like compensation increase and benefits enhancement may not be enough to overcome these obstacles. To support these, innovative solutions and approaches are needed. 

    Partnering with a contractor that is flexible and can support your business growth objectives could be the sustainable solution to addressing the challenges brought about by staffing shortages. Accepting more referrals and increasing your census will also mean needing more field clinicians and an increase in documentation burden. Hence, you will need a structure that can function as a back-office extension of your clinical team to help maintain the accuracy and compliance in the documentation.

    An outsourced documentation team, for instance, can not only assist with compliance but can also work hand-in-hand with your in-house team, improving the work experience and supporting re-education and career development.

    Overall, making strategic partnerships is an efficient and sustainable strategy that positively impacts any business organization. For home health, it is difficult to juggle pursuing business growth, onboarding enough workforce, and maintaining clinical compliance simultaneously. The key is to focus on what matters most and delegate other non-core functions.