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Hospice workers fare better than other categories of home health workers and are less likely to leave their jobs, according to a new paper in the Home Health Care Services Quarterly. Robyn Stone and Natasha Bryant of the LeadingAge Center for Applied Research co-authored the paper with Janet P. Sutton and Annelise Adams of Social and Scientific Systems Inc., and Marie Squillace from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.The paper is based on the findings of a research project that the Center for Applied Research and Social and Scientific Systems are conducting with funds from ASPE.
Researchers are using a database linking the 2007 National Home Health Aide Survey with the 2007 National Home Health Agency Survey to examine how home health workers and subgroups of home health workers differ in terms of:
Most research to date has examined home health workers as a group, but has not made distinctions between worker categories, according to the paper. The paper describes those categories as follows:
“Lacking understanding of how these workers differ makes it difficult to assess the extent to which public policies and private sector attempts to strengthen the home health workforce by enhancing training requirements, improving retention, and other efforts are likely to succeed,” the authors write.
Hospice workers earned an average of $12.40 per hour in 2007, compared with an hourly rate of $11.60 for all home health workers, according to the paper. Hospice workers earned about 32% more than home care aides ($9.40 per hour) and 8% more than HHAs/CNAs ($11.50 per hour).Hospice aides also received better benefits from their agencies. For example:
The paper notes several possible explanations for the differences in job quality between hospice and other home health workers. These include:
“Given the increasing attention to hospice and palliative care by policy makers and consumers and the growth in this sector, more research is needed to understand why the hospice worker occupation is more competitive than other agency-based frontline home health jobs,” says the paper.
Overall, rates of satisfaction among all home health workers are high, according to the paper. Nearly half of all workers indicated that they were “extremely satisfied” with their job. One half of all workers also said they were “extremely satisfied” that they were learning new skills. Despite these endorsements, however, almost 1 in 5 workers indicated that they were “looking for another job.” Almost one-half of home care aides reported that they were likely to leave their job in the coming year, compared to about one-third of HHAs/CNAs and one-fifth of hospice aides.