Consumer Awareness, Cost Perception Remain Top Challenges for Home Care Industry

Consumer awareness and perceptions regarding the cost of service remain significant challenges for the U.S. home care industry, despite the fact business boomed in 2019.

For providers, that means targeted education and outreach need to be priorities moving forward. Historically, word of mouth has largely fueled the utilization of home care services among the general consumer base.

Toronto-based Mavencare is one of the latest at-home care providers striving to create greater dialogue and trigger more conversations surrounding long-term care within its markets. As part of those efforts, Mavencare surveyed hundreds of baby boomers and Gen-Xers about their care plans, publicly releasing findings on Tuesday.

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“Many people aren’t having these important discussions,” Dr. Adam Blackman, CEO and founder of Mavencare, told Home Health Care News. “So, we wanted to bring awareness to the common lack of preparedness families sometimes [face] when thinking about aging plans for loved ones. We see that need on a daily basis.”

Founded in early 2015, Mavencare is a technology-enabled, clinically focused personal home care company. While it’s headquartered in Toronto, Mavencare currently operates in the New York and Boston markets, in addition to a handful of other Massachusetts locations.

Overall, 59% of individuals 40 years old or older who participated in the Mavencare survey said they worried about their parents as they age.

At the same time, more than half of individuals have not yet discussed any aging plans with their parents.

“That was higher than we anticipated,” Blackman said.

When it comes to implementing care plans, geographic proximity is also a challenge, the survey found.

About 54% of adults who participated in the survey said they do not live in the same city as their parents, causing them to consider remote care options when brainstorming long-term-care options.

And while most are open to hiring in-home caregivers, 81% of participants said they have a difficult time trusting that a caregiver is taking good care of their parent.

Multiple studies have suggested that, generally speaking, the traditional American family is becoming much more spread out, with a substantial portion of adult children living outside of an hour’s drive from their parents.

“We think that’s a very common situation now,” Blackman said. “Often [in those cases], the dilemma is: ‘Is the home a safe enough setting with sufficient oversight and clinical monitoring?’ People want to make sure their health needs — or their family member’s health needs — are well-managed and there’s no risk of adverse events.”

In addition to the previously aforementioned findings, the Mavencare survey also highlighted some interesting takeaways regarding how consumers view care costs.

Specifically, 84% of respondents reported that they do not have any money set aside for their parents as they age, while 58% said that the cost of care is their biggest concern when it comes to hiring caregivers.

Meanwhile, 40% of respondents said they do not believe their parents are equipped to pay for their own needs as they age.

Another big takeaway: 82% of respondents reported that they would consider hiring an in-home caregiver for their parents — if it were at an affordable price.

In 2019, the median monthly cost for full-time home care services checked in at $4,290, according to the latest Genworth Cost of Care Survey. Comparatively, the median monthly rent for a semi-private nursing home room was $7,513.

Although less expensive by a wide margin, it is important to note that in-home care costs are rising faster than any other setting, according to Genworth.

Mavencare’s payer sources include a mix of private-pay, managed care and other streams, Blackman said.

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