Senior care provider Interim HealthCare began a national staff recruiting campaign this month targeted at expanding education and training in clinical, caregiving and service-related roles, including hospice and home care personnel. Staffing has remained a top concern in 2020 among hospice providers, with the coronavirus pandemic straining an already shrinking workforce.
Interim HealthCare is a national franchisor of home care, hospice and health care staffing. The company launched the Made for This national campaign early in December to recruit employees in a range of career paths across their business lines, including home health, hospice, support aides, therapists and nurses.
“Despite the economic downturn so many are facing as a result of the public health emergency caused by COVID-19, the home health care industry continues to see rapid growth and offers a compelling career opportunity,” said Jennifer Sheets, president and CEO of Interim HealthCare. “We are responding. With so many out of work and looking to explore new careers or professional paths, we see the heart and determination many of these people have as a perfect fit for home care.”
Issues such as staff retirement, burnout and limited specialized training opportunities have pummeled hospices during COVID-19, complicating retention and increasing turnover. Interim HealthCare has been among the hospice providers developing strategies to combat industry-wide shortages as demand for end-of-life and community-based care rises.
The industry was plagued by staffing shortages long before the pandemic. According to an April 2018 study, the United States has 13.35 hospice and palliative care specialists for every 100,000 adults 65 and older. The research estimated that growth in these patient populations over the next 20 years will increase demand for specialized end-of-life care by 2040. Hospice utilization has been rising with a record 51% of Medicare decedents receiving hospice care during 2019, according to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission.
Staffing concerns outweighed worries about emerging payment models and growing competition, according to a Hospice News survey earlier this year. More than 26% of more than 300 respondents of executive leaders, industry professionals and managers indicated in January that staffing would be the greatest challenge of 2020. Efforts have abounded in the hospice space and beyond to boost recruitment and retention, including designing career paths with opportunities for advancement. (The survey took place prior to the onset of the pandemic.)
Expanding the recruitment base for home health and hospice care could lead to improved clinical outcomes as more staff are available to serve the growing patient population. Building up clinical, business and operational employment opportunities will be key for growth in these fields.
Interim, which operates internationally, has opened its recruitment campaign to jobseekers in and around health care across its 41-state U.S. footprint as well as Saudi Arabia. The campaign targets three areas: to boost caregiving, service and operation, and clinical care roles. The company indicated that it is prioritizing candidates who display traits such as selflessness, compassion, trustworthiness, dependability, collaboration and self-sufficiency.
“Proven by our 54-year track record, we emphasize the importance of employee engagement and professional growth for clinicians and caregivers,” said Sheets. “Our research shows that those who thrive in this field have inherent traits that determine their predisposition for home care, correlating directly to high quality care.”