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The Home Care Shortage in Reno, NV

May 9, 2022
Sarah Falcone RN

There is a healthcare crisis. A shortage of workers has left thousands without the help that they need. Here’s a look at how the home care shortage is affecting Reno residents. 

Homecare Worker Shortage 

A scarcity of homecare workers is hitting home in many parts of Nevada. A recent article reported that the pandemic fueled a shortage of home health workers. Patients are left without the care they need. A few trends are driving this crisis in home healthcare, including:

  • poor benefits for homecare workers
  • burnout
  • low hourly wages

The president of the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC-H) recently summed up the industry-wide concern, “everyone is experiencing shortages, particularly around nursing and home health aides. Some agencies are rejecting as many as 40% of referrals.” Home health companies just can’t find staff.

Homecare Staffing Challenges in Reno, NV

Well, this is not news to many seniors and people living with disabilities in the Reno area. Two years ago, the Guinn Center Report warned that the demand for home health services had increased. It estimated a shortage of over 5,300 home care workers by 2026. Moreover, it called the current system “broken.” At that time, the median hourly wage of $11.07/hour made it difficult to attract workers. 

Today the median wage for home health and personal care aides is $14.15/hour.

Nevada homecare workers work too hard for too little, with inconsistent training and safety standards. These factors make it hard to bring new workers to the field. 

Nurses are also in short supply. A September 2021 report by the Associated Press said that Nevada’s shortage of nurses was worsened by the pandemic. It left nurses demoralized and drove some to leave the profession.

The Future of Home Care in Reno, NV

There is no relief in sight. In fact, Marketplace.org said last month that America’s home health industry is in crisis. The population of seniors in the US is rapidly growing. It is estimated that by 2040, the group of Americans over age 65 will double, and those over 85 will quadruple.

The state of Nevada is in even more dire straits. According to the Nevada’s Elders Count Report 2021, Nevada continues to see higher growth rates in the population of older adults than the rest of the US. Furthermore, Nevada’s growth rate for the age 85 and older population is double the national rate. Seniors and those living with disabilities in Reno, NV, will find it hard to get home care due to staffing shortages for years to come. Without major changes, the future remains uncertain.

Increasing Access to Home Care in Reno, NV

Telemedicine is one solution to the home care worker shortage. My Virtual Physician, the top telemedicine provider in Nevada, is improving access to care in Reno. The company recently launched an innovative program for Reno residents who need in-home services. The MVP Virtual House Call is an answer to the home care shortage.

The MVP Virtual House Call service sends a mobile medical assistant, paired with a virtual doctor, into the patient’s home. House Calls include:

  • Any lab work needed.
  • A home safety evaluation.
  • Consultation with a live doctor in real-time.

They are currently accepting new patients for the new program. 

Summary

While the future of home care remains unclear, Telemedicine is one way for patients to get the in-home care they need. 

 

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Sources:

Elders Count Nevada 2021 Report”. adsd.nv.gov. Accessed May 2, 2022.

Guinn Center Report”. seiunv.org. Accessed May 2, 2022.

Home Health and Personal Care Aides”. bls.gov. Accessed May 2, 2022.

Low wages and high costs clash in the home health care crisis for aging Americans”. marketplace.org. Accessed May 2, 2022.

Nursing shortage in Nevada”. usnews.com. Accessed May 2, 2022.

Pandemic-Fueled Shortages of Home Health Workers Strand Patients Without Necessary Care”. khn.org. Accessed May 2, 2022.

The US Population Is Aging”. urban.org. Accessed May 2, 2022.

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