To understand the explosive growth in home healthcare the past few years, it is important to understand national demographics. People over the age of 65 now account for 15 percent of the total United States population. That number will continue to grow in the coming decades. By 2060, the federal government projects one in four U.S. citizens will be 65 or older, which is about 98 million people.
With that many seniors – and with people living longer – it is easy to see why the demand for home healthcare is growing. Home healthcare fills an important gap for seniors. Many seniors cannot live on their own without support, but are also not yet to the point where they need to enter a long-term care facility.
To support this growth in demand, more home healthcare agencies and workers are needed, as well as more people with expertise in healthcare administration to lead these organizations.
Rapid Growth Industry-Wide
The rise in demand for home healthcare is part of a larger growth trend across the healthcare sector. Projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) illustrate the opportunities in healthcare, especially in home healthcare.
The first opportunity is the overall growth in health service management and administrative positions. The BLS projects 20% growth in this area by 2026. To put this in context, the average growth for all occupations in the country is projected at 7%.
The second is the demand for workers in home healthcare. The BLS projects 41% growth in the area by 2026.
While the BLS does not break down salary details for healthcare administrators by specific areas, the average salary for all healthcare administrators in Massachusetts was $128,730 in May 2017, far above the national average. The Boston metropolitan area ranks fifth in the country for the number of healthcare administrators employed with an average salary of nearly $149,000.
What Home Healthcare Administrators Do
Home healthcare is one area where those who earn a graduate degree in healthcare administration can apply their skills. Strong leadership is a vital component to success in this field.
Home health administrations typically oversee the staff and the operations of a home health care agency. They may also work for larger hospitals that have a unit that focuses on delivering home healthcare services.
In addition to senior citizens, home healthcare agencies can provide services to patients including disabled veterans or those with a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition. Temporary home healthcare may also be provided for accident or natural disaster victims.
Specific day-to-day duties can include:
- Hiring nurses and other trained healthcare staff
- Overseeing how resources are deployed
- Creating plans that adhere to federal, state, and local guidelines
- Managing the operation’s budget
- Participating in negotiations with vendors for needed equipment and supplies
- Overseeing the implementation of healthcare plans for patients
- Working in concert with public agencies such as the Veterans Administration
Home healthcare is a demanding, complex field. Many employers seek those who have earned a graduate degree in administration to run home healthcare operations.
Education in Healthcare Administration
The Boston College Online Master of Healthcare Administration Degree program provides its graduates with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in this challenging field.
Graduates from the program have expertise in the areas that employers demand. This is because the program is employer-focused, as the curriculum has been designed using input from experts in the field. The online program also provides working professionals the flexibility to complete coursework without regularly commuting to campus.
Working in home healthcare field has always attracted professional who wish to help others. With the shift in population demographics and demand for these services, the importance of developing strong leaders in this area has never been more important.