Top Home Health Trends for 2024

2023 has been an interesting year in healthcare, and it was one that saw an increased use of hybrid care models with virtual check-ins, remote patient monitoring, sensor technology, and other innovations. On top of that, stress caused by staffing shortages has had a significant impact on healthcare services — combined with the lingering effects of COVID-19, the industry is seeing a significant shift in how it approaches care. 

Moving into 2024, the aging population of baby boomers and those in the silent generation, as well as other patient populations, have started to put pressure on healthcare providers. There is high demand for community-based care, but many people also want to age in place, opting to stay in their homes rather than moving into assisted living, nursing homes, or other care facilities. The risk of infections, particularly via viral illnesses such as COVID-19, has furthered the push for at-home service options. 

On a more positive note, home health care is expanding thanks to demand, which means the services offered will continue to evolve, blend with emerging technologies, and boost the care offered to patients at home.

It’s important to recognize evolving trends in home health care that will affect healthcare as a whole and the way we work with patients. 2024 is likely to see a push for technological innovation, increased demand, a need for the diversification of services, continued staffing shortages, and home health regulatory reimbursement challenges that will require a balanced approach.

Home Health Care Demand, Diversification, and Stresses in 2024

Predictions state that home healthcare in the United States will grow from $94.17 billion in 2022 to $153.19 billion by 2029. And aging populations pushing for in-home care are contributing to this growth.

It’s important to keep in mind that this demand, while positive for the industry, is a major challenge for it as well. Staffing shortages are predicted to continue in 2024, and with a growing home health population, this will be amplified. In fact, it is believed that the elderly population will rise to over 80 million by 2050, a sharp increase from the 35 million elderly adults living in the U.S. in 2000.

On top of needing additional healthcare workers to care for the growing home health population, patients are also seeking a wider diversification of services. Home-based service demand now sometimes comes with requests for more skilled healthcare services such as:

  • Respiratory care
  • Cardiological care
  • Wound care
  • Mental health care
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Orthopedics

To help make that a reality, home health care agencies are sometimes pairing up with acute care agencies or skilled nursing facilities to partner and provide more advanced care in a home setting. Private duty nursing, certified home health, and therapy at-home services are seeing an uptick.

With this demand and diversification in mind, there is a high demand for home care workers that has to be met for other reasons as well. Patients may look for alternatives to nursing homes to avoid infections or exposure to illnesses, including COVID-19 or RSV

Unfortunately, patients may find accessibility for this type of care to be more difficult. Reduced reimbursements due to the Patient-Driven Groupings Model, or PDGM (2020), have limited the services some agencies are able to offer. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed a $385 million cut to reimbursements for home health, which places significant stress on these agencies. 

The demand for care and diversification is challenging among reimbursement concerns, but home health nurses and care workers who are interested in being independent, resourceful, and placed in individual homes may thrive in a home health setting where they can build personal relationships with their patients in the patients’ homes. Additionally, there is an important support tool that has evolved to take some stress off healthcare workers’ shoulders through streamlining their work and cutting back on costs — technology. 

Technological Innovation in Home Health Care

Technology aims to make healthcare providers’ workflow smoother and allow them to place their focus on patient care. It can cut down on errors and help patients, family members, and healthcare clinicians communicate more clearly. 

Telehealth and remote patient monitoring (RPM) are two forms of healthcare technology that have seen a boost in usage. Telehealth allows providers to connect with patients from anywhere with an internet or phone line, while remote patient monitoring, a type of telehealth, helps monitor patients’ health in real-time.

With remote monitoring, healthcare professionals can observe patients outside of traditional care facilities. Doing this allows them to track patient data and take steps for interventions when they’re needed. Remote monitoring transmits data in real-time, meaning healthcare professionals have improved information about what’s going on with their patients at all times. They can monitor conditions including hypertension, heart failure, and diabetes. This also gives them access to track patient activity levels, signs of falls, or indications of infection.

Today, there are four primary kinds of remote patient monitoring systems including:

  • Cloud-based systems collecting and storing patient data
  • Telehealth and telemedicine platforms connected via video, chat, or other types of communication
  • Mobile health applications tracking data from wearable devices and biosensors
  • Wearable devices that track blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen levels, and other vitals

Remote patient monitoring creates an excellent opportunity to provide patient-centric care within their homes while using the tools and diagnostic systems available at larger healthcare facilities or systems. They make it easier to identify when interventions are needed and when watchful waiting is appropriate. 

Home health services may also appreciate RPM systems because they can help cut costs. The use of artificial intelligence to analyze data, for example, allows for more efficient data analysis and improved diagnostic rates. AI can also help with automating health coaching and patient education, both of which are necessary for improving patient health overall. 

Supplemental Health Care: An Expert in Home Health

Home healthcare careers are demanding but rewarding, and they can be the right opportunity for nurses and healthcare professionals looking to expand their knowledge and work closely with patients in their homes. 

SHC is a healthcare staffing company and expert in home health and hospice care with a dedicated division focused on this unique setting. Our team will continue to pay attention to trends so we can continue to support our home health professionals and client partners. 

To learn more about our services or work with us, get more industry news, and hear the latest updates, check out our blog or contact us for more information on home health care careers and staffing solutions.