About the SeniorAdvisor.com 2014 In-Home Innovation Scholarship: We started the scholarship program to bring awareness of the unique benefits and challenges of in-home caregiving for seniors to younger generations. The questions posed by the scholarship encouraged our nation’s future caregivers to present solutions for improving home care in the United States. College-aged students were required to answer one of the three essay topics below and provide a short bio as part of their scholarship application. Read the winning essays here.
What is the top challenge facing in-home care in your city, and what is your proposed solution?
Essay response by Chelsey Grimm, Arcadia University
One of the top challenges facing in-home care in Philadelphia is the safety concerns of many in-home care nurses, nurse’s aides, etc. While not at its highest, current crime rates in Philadelphia continue to be high, making in-home visits often stressful, risky and dangerous. Many in-home caregivers must walk through dangerous neighborhoods to get to their next visit. In order to ensure the safety of healthcare providers, there are two proposed solutions: collaborative home visits and civic planning.
The first proposed solution of collaborative home visits is a short-term solution to the safety concerns in Philadelphia. It is proposed that there be two employees on every home visit in select neighborhoods (at a minimum) of Philadelphia that have higher rates of crime and violence. Furthermore, to further justify collaborative home visits, the visiting team should include a long and short tenured employee for training purposes. Not only will collaborative home visits work as a deterrent to crime and violence against in-home caregivers and improve upon the safety of employees, but it will also assist in on the job training.
By pairing new hires with long tenured employees, new hires will have the opportunity to learn from a mentor who has more educational and practical experience, not only in the field, but with the company they are employed with. With the predicted job growth of 70% for home health and personal care aides over the next decade (Bureau of Labor Statistics), the training of these professionals is going to be a large investment. Collaborative home visits will be a method of reducing the training costs, by leveraging the existing knowledge within the organization. If organizations operating within Philadelphia can implement collaborative home visits successfully, while maintaining operating profits, the safety of in-home caregivers can be greatly improved.
The second proposed solution to safety issues surrounding in-home care in Philadelphia is civic planning- a longer term solution to the safety concerns in Philadelphia. There are many seniors living in Philadelphia who need care, but who are living in poor, unhealthy and dangerous neighborhoods. They may have family, but the family may not have the time or resources to care for their senior family members. In addition to the poor socioeconomic conditions throughout Philadelphia, there are few assisted living facilities in Philadelphia that meet the standards and quality of care that is prevalent in the suburbs and that are available at an affordable cost.
Community planners need to establish cooperative living solutions downtown, not only for the safety of the in-home care nurses, but for the safety of the seniors. These establishments would have security guards, receptionists and video surveillance to protect the seniors and healthcare workers. In addition to creating a safer environment, residents in cooperative living solutions can benefit from shared meals, recreational activities, housekeeping and continued in-home care. When planned properly, these cooperative living solutions can also offer multiple forms of care from personal care, to memory care, to complete health care. Whether it is creating senior housing in stable neighborhoods downtown, or considering the needs of older adults when planning new neighborhoods, community planners need to be senior-friendly in their plans for the future.
Chelsey is pursuing an MBA with a Global Perspective at Arcadia University.