We surveyed 1,300 home care owners about COVID-19. Here’s how it’s affected their business.

COVID-19 impact on home care organizations

There’s a level of comfort and clarity that comes from having a wider perspective. Hopefully the data we’ve gathered will offer some measure of clarity to home care owners as they navigate the uncharted waters of COVID-19.

Over the last several weeks, over 1300 home care professionals representing every US state have taken our COVID-19 Impact Survey.

The results paint a picture of an industry undergoing rapid, week-by-week evolution, with major challenges in the short-term but a strong growth outlook in the long term.

While many of the findings will come as no surprise, the chaos and constant change during COVID-19 has made it difficult for agencies to know whether the specific challenges they’re facing are representative of what’s going on in the industry.

There’s a level of comfort and clarity that comes from having a wider perspective. Hopefully the data we’ve gathered will offer some measure of clarity to home care owners as they navigate the uncharted waters of COVID-19.

We’ll be highlighting some of the most important findings from the survey. For the full results, we recommend taking five minutes to complete the survey, after which you’ll get a link to the survey report.

In no particular order, here are some of the various takeaways from our survey of the impact of COVID-19 on the home care industry.

#1: What are home care agencies experiencing?

impact of COVID-19 on home care

There’s a lot to unpack here:

The vast majority of agencies have seen clients pause or cancel services—likewise with clients refusing to let caregivers into their homes.

Mask shortages are common knowledge and widespread, but more than half of agencies are also short on gloves.

25% of agencies have seen demand from clients moving out of facilities and into their homes.

A similar number of agencies—24%—have seen an overall increase in the supply of potential caregivers, likely due to workers being displaced from other jobs.

You’ve probably read the word ‘unprecedented’ an unprecedented number of times over the last few weeks (just like the time you’ve spent looking at exponential graphs has probably increased exponentially), but this is truly an unprecedented challenge for home care.

#2: What do agency owners see as the top threats to their business?

impact of COVID-19 on home care

In a way, it might be comforting to know that COVID-19 is overwhelmingly perceived as the top threat.

While COVID-19 is clearly the most widespread issue facing society right now, pressing issues like cashflow concerns might overtake it in the minds of home care owners if circumstances were dire enough.

COVID-19 being the top concern might be a helpful sign that other related dangers are not so urgent as to distract home care owners from the issue that requires attention from all of us.

That said, it’s clear that other concerns still loom large in the minds of home care owners; approximately 100 respondents still listed cashflow concerns as the greatest threat to their business currently. A similar number reported PPE concerns, an ever-present concern that will likely shape some of the ways care providers prepare for future catastrophic events.

#3: How has demand for home care services been affected?

impact of COVID-19 on home care

Another interesting finding regards the change in demand for home care services. It’s not surprising that we’ve seen an overall decrease in demand for home care services during this time; most people are rightfully wary of bringing a stranger into their home, even if is to help them meet basic needs.

However, a hopeful sign is that we’ve noticed a slight trend (~5% change) over the lifetime of the survey, with fewer agencies reporting a decrease in demand and more agencies reporting an increase.

It’s still early to say, but we hope this mirrors a predicted trend that once demand hits an upward course, it’ll continue to increase until there’s more demand than ever before.

The idea of a coming surge is reasonably likely and commonly held; the Home Care Association of Florida, for instance, has scheduled a webinar for Florida agencies entitled Preparing for the Coming Surge.

While the crisis has proven that anything could happen, home care agencies need to be prepared if these forecasts do come true.

It May Pass Like a Kidney Stone, But It’ll Pass

Like we mentioned before, we’ve highlighted a few key results here. To see the rest of the results (including a more data on how the supply of caregivers is changing, how agencies plan to handle the possibility of clients contracting COVID-19, and how many agencies have had clients, caregivers, or staff contract COVID-19, take 5 minutes to complete the survey and you’ll get access to the full report.

And as everyone knows, the situation is still unfolding; we’ll leave the survey open and continue to deliver updates on what home care agencies are reporting. If you have access to the report, you can filter by date and refresh the page to explore responses over different time frames.

A member of our team joked recently that the COVID-19 crisis is like a kidney stone; it’ll pass, but no one knows quite when, and it’s going to hurt a lot in the meantime.

All joking aside, this is a tough time, and we’ve been inspired by the way we’ve seen home care agencies rise to the challenge. This is not only a time when home-based services are more important than ever; it’s also a change for home care to prove its place in the entire care continuum.

We’re confident that home care will emerge from this challenge stronger than ever.

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