The growing population of elderly patients in need of home health, hospice or palliative care, combined with the government healthcare mandate for employers, is a one-two punch that is forcing hospice care providers to do more with less. The good news is that home health industry jobs are growing at a record pace, including temporary home health workers. The bad news is that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirement that employers provide affordable health insurance may lead to industry-wide job cuts for full-time workers.

Good News for Home Health Job Seekers: Growing Demand

The good news for those working in the home health sector: the industry is the 4th hottest industry for job growth behind translation services, specialty hospitals, and home remodelers. CareerBuilder’s June 2015 Hot Industries for Job Growth Report gathered data from over 90 national and state employment resources. It showed a 25% increase in home health jobs in the next five years, growing from 1,344,672 to 1,677,455.

Home Health Aides: The Fastest Growing Temp Job

The CareerBuilder data also predicted that home health aides would be one of the fastest growing temporary occupations. The number of temporary home health aides is estimated to grow by 15% from 2014 to 2019. This is good news for others in the industry such as nurses, therapists, and home health administration.

Bad News for Home Health Jobs: Staff Reductions

To offset all the positive home health job growth numbers is the negative effect the ACA is having on employers. A recent Home Health Care News Poll found that almost 50% planned to reduce staff as a result of the ACA employer mandate. The ACA mandate requires companies with 50 to 99 full-time employees to provide affordable insurance coverage to those employees by January 1, 2016 or face potential fines. The National Association for Home Care & Hospice predicted this might happen when the ACA took effect. The NAHC 2013 Study found that 90% of private pay home care providers don’t offer insurance to personal care aides. This government mandate will have a huge impact on the industry, perhaps leading to employers choosing to fill the gaps in care with more temporary workers.

Bridging the Gap: Full-time Care & Temporary Workers

The increasing demand for hospice and palliative care will bring new challenges to the industry, in the coming years. Nursing staff and hospice administrators will continue to struggle to deliver high-quality care with fewer resources, while avoiding the staff turnover and burnout that comes with providing around-the-clock care of patients and their families. Relying on a temporary workforce, including outsourcing after-hours care, may be one way that hospice administrators can bridge the gap. The home health industry is poised for growth and managing that growth efficiently and effectively will require creative staffing solutions.