While the situation continues to turn on a dime, data is beginning to paint a more complete picture of what COVID-19 looks like for home care agencies.
The last [six] months have turned home care, society, and life in general upside down.
While the situation continues to turn on a dime, data is beginning to paint a more complete picture of what COVID-19 looks like for home agencies. To help agencies get context on their own experiences during this time, we’ve launched two surveys for agencies about the impact of COVID-19 on their operations.
The first survey (link to first impact report) largely painted a picture of what things looked like in the early weeks of the pandemic. The second survey, which is ongoing, is designed to provide a quantitative look at the full impact of the pandemic so far and provide some insights on what to expect in the future.
To view the whole report, simply take 5 minutes to complete the survey and you’ll be directed to the report when you submit your survey.
However, we’ve snapshotted a few of the most telling data points here.
#3: 76% of agencies say they’ve seen a drop in billable hours from COVID-19.
Of those agencies, most report losing about 20% of their hours before bottoming out, although some agencies report losing as much as 80% of their billable hours.
Just over 50% have seen those hours return fully. Those for whom billable hours have fully returned are typically saying the process of returning to normal billable hours took between 3-6 weeks, though for a few the process has been much longer.
Amid all this, it’s important to recognize that approximately half of the agencies still haven’t seen their billable hours return to normal. While many indicators show that there’s light at the end of the tunnel, we’re not out of the woods just yet.
#5: 49% of agencies plan to continue nontraditional visit formats after COVID-19 is over.
While it’s easy to overlook if you saw it in context of the entire Impact Report, this might be the most important number to come out of the report.
Nearly half of agencies we surveyed are interested in continuing visit formats and services they began to explore during COVID, which might include things like virtual visits, grocery drop-off only visits, and doorstep visits.
Before we get too excited, some of this might reflect cases in which agency owners plan to continue nontraditional visits in the event that COVID-19 is never fully eradicated as a threat, or at least remains a danger to seniors for a long time after it stops affecting most of society on a day-to-day basis.
However, we’ve talked to enough agency owners who plan to keep sweeping changes introduced during COVID to know that some of these responses are agency owners embracing new angles to their business model rather than simply continuing precautions for the foreseeable future.
Any changes to an established model take time and experimentation to get right, of course. But in an industry that has struggled with many of the same problems for years—low margins being a root cause of many of them—new visit formats and innovative approaches to services could be a game-changer.
It’s also possible that COVID-19 has changed public preferences and consumer habits in ways that turn previously unprofitable ideas into viable concepts.
We’ll continue to update you on this trend as it unfolds, but we’re hopeful that home care is turning a corner—not just on COVID-19, but in ways that will continue and accelerate its integration with the entire care continuum.