In a recent ranking by CareerCast, home health care aides ranked as the number-four most difficult job to fill in the United States in 2018. This position came in behind application software developers, construction laborers, and financial advisors, with information security analysts rounding out the top five. Personal care aides also appeared on the list, ranking eighth.
CareerCast based its rankings on industry growth, the number of new graduates entering the professions, and the number of people with the skills to perform the jobs’ duties.
Over the next eight years, it is estimated that home health care aides will grow by 47 percent, with personal care aides expected to grow by 39 percent over the same time period. As the baby boomer generation continues to grow into old age, these jobs have grown increasingly more desired, with demand for each position being almost half a million for home health care aides and three-quarter million for personal care aides in under a decade.
However, while these jobs may be in demand, they have proven difficult to fill. They are not the most well-compensated positions, with a median annual salary of $22,600 for home health care aides and $21,920 for personal care aides. The often lower salaries combined with the long hours, difficult work, and emotional toll that the job can take make this field of work a very difficult one to fill and a field of high turnover rates.
Some jurisdictions also have stringent requirements contributing to their difficulties in filling home health care aide positions. For example, the state of New York passed a law at the end of 2017 requiring that nurses have a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) within a decade of getting their license (also known as “The BSN in 10”), with other states expected to follow suit.
As of 2017, only 55 percent of nurses were reported to have a four-year degree, with less than 45 percent having a BSN. This law aims to increase standardization across the home health care industry and increase qualifications for a position that may require more advanced levels of care than it is currently receiving.
Bridget Gallagher, vice president of New York-based home care company Americare, said, “This has been a long-time debate to name a standard practice as the minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Conceptually, I am behind this. Especially in home care, where it’s a very autonomous practice, the more you can enhance the skill set of the nurses going out into the community in the patients’ homes, it’s beneficial for the patient.”
On the other hand, Helen Adeosun, CEO and cofounder of the caregiver education business CareAcademy, has stated, “The home care industry feels constrained and feels under threat often. The intention, I think, is to help, and make sure these folks have some basis of knowledge and level of mastery. I think there are other ways to deliver on that intention beyond a mandate.”
It remains to be seen how this law will affect home health care, and whether other states will adapt similar measures.
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