PPE and Nurse Shortages, Strain Hospice & Home Health Agencies For The Long Term

PPE and Nurse Shortages, Strain Hospice & Home Health Agencies For The Long Term

May 7, 2020

nurse and covid

Most hospice and home health agencies have seen their workforce decline due to COVID-19. A recent survey has revealed that hospice and home health providers expect the virus to reduce up to 1/5 of their workforce. This will have major consequences to how care is delivered and will force healthcare providers to consider how they will address nurse shortages.

There is also a concern of basic needs like lack of childcare services that are also preventing aides, nurses, therapists, social workers and other hospice and home health employees from working which is increasing labor costs across the board.

At the same time, almost 80% of home health and hospice providers continue to have a difficult or extremely difficult time getting personal protective equipment like masks, gloves and gowns for their staff.

According to national polls, nearly half of hospice and home care staff are reusing masks, 21% of agencies have prevented face-to-face visits when PPE isn’t available, 19% of staff are completing patient visits without masks, 14% are making their own and 7% are RESIGNING or simply not providing services when they don’t have the proper gear, according to surveys, prompting many hospice and home care state agencies to call for priority access to protective equipment.

Many hospice and home health providers have expressed that “Social distancing does not apply to them” and most hospice and home care agencies are reporting that patients and family members are refusing care due to fear of exposure.

With expected nursing shortages quickly approaching across the country now is the time for hospice and home health providers to utilize nurse based telehealth to help mitigate both the staff and PPE shortages. Utilizing remote-based, licensed nurses is the best and quickest way to support the lack of staff and existing coverage needs. By providing remote nurses, via a telehealth solution, hospice and home health providers can continue to support their existing patients – nights and weekends (remotely) – without putting their staff at risk (COVID19) for calls that could be triaged via telehealth instead of the traditional in home visit.

If you are planning for what happens after the crisis and would like to explore how Remote Based Nurse Triage can help you prepare for nursing shortages, contact us today to start a conversation.