‘It’s Impacting the Entire Industry’: The Threat Climate Change Poses to Home-Based Care
Home-based care players tout their ability to proactively aid seniors’ health, as opposed to just reactively, and for good reason. Their ability to do just that makes them valuable to patients, payers and partners.
To continue keeping seniors safe while they age in place, however, there’s another issue they’ll have to address proactively: increasingly prevalent and severe weather events.
“All the way down the West Coast, climate change is impacting the provision of home health care and hospice,” Brent Korte, the chief home care officer at EvergreenHealth, told Home Health Care News.
It’s certainly not an issue isolated to the West Coast, with all of its wildfires and heat waves, either. In each part of the country, home health and home care providers are concerned about how the weather could affect their patients and workers. Currently, those in both the South and East Coast are dealing with the fallout from Hurricane Ida.
Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, operators have positioned themselves as a better alternative to facility-based care, even attempting to care for patients with higher-acuity levels in the home. But right now, facilities have a leg up when it comes to avoiding risk tied to severe weather. At the very least, skilled nursing and senior living facilities universally have contingency plans to keep patients safe.
During the pandemic, nursing homes could no longer reasonably promise families that loved ones would be safe from COVID-19. Home-based care operators — to some extent — face the same fate with natural disasters.
While not directly health-related, the risk seniors face when they’re at home during severe weather could hurt home-based care providers’ value proposition overall.
Severe weather’s impact
When severe weather hits, it can break down different sectors of the health care ecosystem.
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