When inflation hits, industries have nowhere to hide. Its shockwaves affect all industries and their staff, including home care, caregivers, and clients.
At first glance, it may not seem like caring for a disabled or elderly patient correlates directly with an increase in gas prices, political sanctions, or expensive groceries, but in a heavily interlinked economy, small changes ricochet to even the most specialized niches.
Home care inflation has become a pressing reality.
Why Is Inflation Affecting Home Care Rates?
- Caregivers are paying more at the pump to drive to their clients’ homes. In order to appropriately compensate for the difference, home care agencies are granting caregivers travel expense increases.
- Due to a rapidly aging population, there is an increasing demand for home care. From basic economics, we know that high demand and limited supply always drives up costs.
- Labor competition and caregiver shortages are increasing alongside rising demands. According to Home Health Care News, “…the U.S. Department of Labor estimates the need for home health aides and caregivers will increase 36% in the next 10 years.” To counter these factors, caregivers must be fairly compensated in both travel expenses and wages to continue feeling valued in their current roles.
All of these higher costs are quickly translating into heavier price tags for clients. However, while inflation is never ideal, it isn’t necessarily a cause for panic.
How Do I Highlight My Agency's Value, Despite Rising Rates?
Make Caregiver Retention a Priority
Raising caregiver wages in conjunction with the inflation rate will protect your employee roster. No one can compete with a higher cost of living without an essential increase in pay.
Besides higher pay rates and reimbursed travel expenses, companies like Tapcheck can be hired as an additional retention tool. They can offset a caregiver’s inflation costs and expense increases through earned wage access (EWA).
“EWA, or on-demand pay, helps employees manage their short-term finances and can help with emergency costs like car problems, doctor bills, or any other unplanned expenses that occur.” — Tapcheck
Retention and routine are crucial components of the relationship between an elderly client’s family members, caregivers, and their agencies. Dependable caregivers prevent family members from getting burned out, and in return, the more caregivers you have in your agency, the more you can offer flexibility in scheduling for your caregivers and clients alike.
All combined make caregiver retention a powerful asset.
Any employee benefit you can manage offers incentives for caregivers to stay and makes them feel valued. It also keeps agencies competitive in the caregiver market, attracting those who are experienced and eager to be appropriately compensated.
Educate: Show How Caregiving Prevents Even More Expensive Health Care
In-home caregivers who regularly monitor the health and safety of their patients are essentially offering preventative care.
Paying more to prevent even more expensive forms of health care pays off.
Each caregiver visit, for example, potentially decreases emergency trips to the hospital. Even standard inflation is already increasing inpatient and outpatient costs. Caregiver visits also allow patients to stay in the comfort of their own homes longer; they aren’t immediately resigned to long-term nursing homes or other assisted living facilities.
AxisCare’s Hospitalization Tracking tool can show how an agency’s hospitalization rate compares to the national average of 16%. Agencies can use data and statistics and/or cost savings calculators like this to help show clients their worth.
Caregiving takes the mental, emotional, and physical weight off the shoulders of patients’ families, giving them peace of mind. Most people don’t have the time or the resources to physically care for their loved ones, but they do need to ensure they’ll be well taken care of.
For patients, having caregivers that feel like family and investing in at-home preventative practices offer what the rest of health care can’t.
As long as healthcare remains expensive, home care agencies have the opportunity to continue highlighting these invaluable qualities.