Future of Long-Term Healthcare
The United States has faced many challenges as it entered into the 21st century. First is ensuring that individuals receive the medical care and support they need throughout their life with dignity and quality. With the aging of “baby boomers,” the number of individuals 65 and those with disabilities will increase from 12.4 percent in 2000 to about 20.4 percent by 2040. This will represent a need for increasing nursing facilities, assisted living, other residential care, and home care services. This represents an expected increase from 15 million in 2000 to 27 million in 2040. This will affect more than just the different facilities; it affects the number of medical professionals needed to staff the facilities. The need for registered nurses, licensed practitioner’s, nurse aides, home health, personal care workers, and physicians will also increase from 1.9 million in 2000 to about 45 percent in the year 2040. We will see another rise in growth for direct care workers in long-term care by 2030 when the baby boomers reach the age of 85. The expected growth equates to about an additional 3.8 to 4.6 million. One of the problems the country will face is that the increased need of workers will not increase at the same rate as they are needed. Currently unpaid informal caregivers, such as, family members, neighbors; and friends provide the majority of care. This is expected to increase from about 20 million in 2000 to 37 million by the year 2030. This is an estimated increase of about 85 percent. Another challenge that will occur is to keep the current long-term workers and add new ones to the industry prior to the need. A challenge with this is that the majority of current long-term workers are women between the ages of 25 and 54. This group will increase to about 9 percent by 2030. The work environment will become highly competitive. The supply is low and the demand high. Additional factors of attracting new employees will be wages...
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