Since the global pandemic, things have been rapidly changing in the home healthcare field. According to Maria Santiago, CEO and Director of Home Health Aide Training Institute (HHATI), the Covid-19 outbreak caused the industry to rethink and react to the idea that most people need to get care in a hospital, facility, or other public setting.
But that long-held idea changed when the world went into lockdown, and being around other vulnerable people was among the most dangerous things you could do.
“Since the pandemic, the trend of receiving care in your own home is much more prevalent than before. That means the demand for high-quality home health aide services is increasing every day. This allows the sector greater opportunities for better payment and treatment,” said Santiago.
A healthcare veteran, Santiago has worked in the field for 25 years and has seen many trends come and go. However, she knows that new changes are creating exciting winds of change for her students, whether they are studying to be personal care assistants, home health aides, infection control experts, or certified nursing assistants, all curriculums she teaches at her New York State-certified school.
After opening only six years ago, HHATI has sent over 4,000 graduated professionals into the field, and Santiago herself was recently awarded a lifetime achievement award from U.S. President Joe Biden for joyful caring.
The Director bases the institute’s curriculums on the crucial lessons that must be taught along with a heaping helping of how to be empathetic, humane, and a true carer to every individual client.
Here, she shares the top trends she sees emerging in 2023 for the home healthcare industry.
Increased Demand for High-Quality Labor
As she mentioned above, Santiago has seen an explosion in the number of requests for home healthcare since the global pandemic. It may be related to lingering fears about Covid-19, or perhaps people who turned to home healthcare during the pandemic simply realized how much they preferred being cared for in their homes.
No matter what the reasons for the increased demand, it’s there. That means more trained, qualified, and professional aides are needed as soon as possible. Thankfully, HHATI has programs to train students to meet the rising demand.
“From the student’s side,” said Santiago, “it means that it’s easy to find work, and it’s the perfect time to join our next graduating class and be part of the next wave of future healthcare professionals.”
Demand for Better Payment
Increasing wages for such important professional roles is always a topic for discussion in the healthcare field, but now it is coming to the fore again, and lawmakers are listening.
Despite the long hours and hard emotional and physical work that the roles require, it has not always been adequately paid — a sad state of affairs that pushes many wonderful aides out of the industry.
During the pandemic, these frontline workers also put their lives on the line every day to keep their patients safe.
Santiago knows how hard her graduates work and is working in advocacy efforts to increase their wages in New York State and across the nation.
“I train my students to ensure that their patient is properly cared for in all aspects, both physical and emotional,” Santiago said. “When you consider all that they do, you understand that they need to earn a decent living, be informed about the current fair pay for care, and receive better living wages for the services they render,” she said.
Today, their wages can hover around the $22.50 mark per hour. The exact number is dependent on the part of the country and precise job description.
Expanded Services and Continued Growth
For a variety of reasons, the industry is in a strong growth period, with not only more people wanting services but a demand for a wider range of care to be provided at home.
Santiago cited the country’s aging population — and their increasing savviness — as one reason for these increases. And it’s not a flash in the pan, either. As the massive baby boomer generation begins to retire, American retirees are set to cross the 80 million population line by 2050.
Clients — and their healthcare insurance providers — are also beginning to see the value of home-based care. And doctors have also become more comfortable prescribing these services in a home setting since they became necessary during the pandemic.
Among the increasing services clients can enjoy at home are mental health treatment and therapy sessions, respiratory care treatments, wound dressing, heart condition treatments, orthopedic medicine, and more.
Based on Santiago’s trend report for the coming year, it sounds like there has never been a better time to train to become a home healthcare worker.
About Maria Santiago
Maria Santiago is the CEO and Director of Home Health Aide Training Institute (HHATI), which trains nurses in board-certified home health aide. She recently won the Presidential Tribute of Excellence Award and her team has taught over 4,000 students to date. For more information about getting involved in home healthcare, please visit www.hhati.com
Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.