Like many healthcare organizations, home care providers face workforce shortage issues and increased demand for their services, exacerbated by COVID-19 vaccination mandates and staff burnout. Home Care Ontario reported providers were able to fulfill 95% of requests pre-pandemic, and the rate had dropped to 56% by the end of 2021. Although the current landscape paints a challenging picture, home care providers have the opportunity to improve their provider and patient experience to sustain and grow their services in the long run. With the increased shift to aging at home, now is the time for home care providers to innovate and establish a foundation for the future.
Workforce challenges in home care run deeper than recruitment and staff retention. A paradigm shift is needed to drive attention to an integrated strategy, including a digital toolkit to deliver on present and future patient needs. With the accelerated adoption of new staffing models, digital tools, and changing guidelines, home care providers can build on previous efforts and invest in opportunities to remain competitive post-pandemic.
To sustain these services, home care providers should apply a patient-centric design to their operations, think differently about how they provide their services and most importantly, focus on their employee's well-being.
The path forward is digital
This report suggests four (4) digital solutions to address workforce challenges within the home care sector:
- Workforce and scheduling optimization and routing – Optimizing workforce scheduling and routing can contribute to better coordination of home care services, translating into more streamlined processes for patients and their caregivers
- Electronic visit verification - Electronic Visit Verification coupled with workforce routing provides home care providers with the needed operational efficiencies. It also increases patients' confidence in services provided to them, knowing they will receive care at the right time
- Virtual care and remote monitoring - Adopting virtual care and remote monitoring solutions with home care improves patient engagement and helps streamline care across multiple specialties and healthcare providers
- Digitizing care plans and patient management - With the accelerated adoption of digital care tools, there are emerging opportunities to optimize care plans so that nurses and personal support workers (PSWs) can focus their time on providing patient care
For an in-depth look at the digital solutions and next steps to assist home care providers in generating sustainable strategies that improve the work environment for operations and employees, and patients' quality of care, download KPMG's report.