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California Faces Unrelenting Caregiver Shortage: Here’s What You Need to Know

After two years in the COVID-19 pandemic, California has an unrelenting caregiver shortage. The shortage makes it difficult for home health care agencies to find employees, and families needing home health care end up paying a premium for services.

Who takes over when caregivers aren’t available?

Without home health services, families become the primary caregiver, thus adding stress to their lives. Loved ones have to learn to manage work, their own families, and their caregiver situations in the middle of an already stressful time. Fortunately, home care providers like 24 Hour Home Care are still working hard to provide top-of-the-line support for disabled and elderly citizens in California.

What home care providers need the most

Working through the COVID-19 pandemic forced home care providers to see their weaknesses. In the earliest days of the pandemic, home care providers couldn’t access personal protective equipment. Now that PPE is available, the pandemic is showing other problems, especially in finding qualified and compassionate skilled staff.

Home care providers also have struggled with patient isolation. The COVID-19 pandemic forced elderly or disabled people to stay away from the general population because of potential health risks. To help their patients, home care providers have become a social outlet for isolated elders.

The best home care agencies need more nurses, and the state can help. If California can open up flexible staffing rules, nursing facilities can provide more for elderly and disabled populations.

Rigid rules create problems for home health care agencies

Part of the struggle for agencies that rely on caregivers involves the rigid licensing rules in California. Certified nursing assistants, vocational nurses, and residential nurses all have different licensing requirements. The state requires that a preset number of CNAs be around for an additional vocational or residential nurse. This requirement creates staffing problems.

Home care agencies and other nursing centers have problems caring for patients with these unusual staffing requirements. The strict regulations contribute to the workforce shortage that affects the care for elderly patients who need caregivers in their homes.

Keeping caregiving affordable

Because the caregiver market is struggling to fill holes, caregiving costs are increasing. Supply and demand make costs increase or decrease, and the number of working caregivers does not meet the demand for their services in the wake of the pandemic.

As the population of California continues to age, those aging Californians will need more home care providers. If more nurses don’t become available, the state will need to develop alternative solutions to caring for the aging population. Without fresh ideas, the state will face a public health crisis.

What needs fixing

California’s problem involves three situations. The first is the pandemic. The second involves the lopsided ratios of CNAs to nurses. The final issue includes the imposed barriers for the people who work as home care providers. With the cost of training and licenses, the low-income people who tend to fill these jobs need affordable pathways to achieve their goals.

Wrap up

The caregiver shortage will continue to cause problems for families and elderly patients until massive changes are made within the industry and California’s regulatory bodies.

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