More Americans are finding now to be the right time to open their own business – and particularly in the home care industry. With more people turning 65 every day and living longer, the demand for services geared toward an older population is growing significantly.
Of course, there is a learning curve for any newcomer to the industry. Below are five tips to help people new to the home care field find success:
- Be prepared for growing demand of home care services – The rapid rise of a generation who will be – and currently are – in need of home care services is a pressing issue facing health care providers. As of 2009, nearly 40 million Americans were at least 65 years old. By 2030, that number expected to jump to 72.1 million, meaning one-quarter of the population will be above retirement age.
By 2050, many of these individuals will be 85 years old and will be the target market for home care services. By 2020, it is expected there will be about 23.2 million Americans who are 75 or older; and in 2050, that figure is anticipated to double, reaching 46.2 million people who are above the age of 75.
In the U.S. and other industrialized nations, it’s expected the number of people with dementia will grow from roughly 12.9 million people in 2015 to 18.4 million individuals in 2030. For families, caring for parents, grandparents and other relatives with dementia is a major cost. According to the National Institutes of Health, out-of-pocket spending for families of dementia patients averaged $61,522—81 percent higher than those without dementia.
- Network and develop referral sources – Getting together with other entrepreneurs who have entered the home care field has many benefits. It’s a great way to learn about what’s new in the industry, gain perspective, find qualified caregivers and pick up a few tips from the more seasoned home care business owners. Connect with others in home care at conferences and other networking events. Seek them out on social media.
Part of your networking efforts should be developing referral sources, especially those that work with the elderly. This will require you to educate them about your business and establish a mutual relationship where you refer business to them too.
- Learn how to recruit and retain caregivers – Keeping up with the demands of an aging population requires skilled caregivers who will help you meet your clients’ needs. You will have to recruit and keep the best ones. This will require you to ask a variety of questions – direct, behavioral, hypothetical and skill – and select candidates whose motivation matches yours. To retain your best caregivers, you will have to recognize their hard work. A mentor program to train newer caregivers will help develop newer caregivers and keep them on.
- Form partnerships with hospitals – Home care service providers can play a pivotal role for both hospitals and insurance providers as a key partner. For hospitals, there’s a significant financial incentive in working with a high-quality home care service company due in large part to the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program.
Part of the Affordable Care Act, this program requires the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to reduce payments to Inpatient Prospective Payment System hospitals that have excess readmissions among the patient population. By comparing readmission rates per ailment – and factoring in demographics, patient frailty and other features – CMS is able to identify which hospitals are repeatedly treating the same patient for the same ailment.
By working with a home care services provider, hospitals can avoid having their CMS payments reduced because the patient will have a certified professional caregiver treating them on an ongoing basis, instead of requiring them to return to a hospital for treatment.
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