Home health and hospice care is a growing industry for therapists. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that by 2050, 27 million Americans will be in need of long-term healthcare. This opens a tremendous door for therapists, since roughly 4.2 percent of all hospice patients receive therapy services — either physical or occupational therapy, or speech language pathology.
Currently, 11 percent of physical therapists work in the home health or hospice care setting, as well as nine percent of occupational therapists and 3.7 percent of speech language pathologists. It’s a great time to be a therapist working in home health — and it’s getting better: you’ll enjoy increasing job options, a great salary and other advantages.
Benefits of working in the hospice/home health setting
This enriching career path offers many benefits to therapists. First, you’ll help provide a caring, supportive environment for patients nearing the end of their lives. As a worker in this setting, you’ll take part in the gift of dignity for patients and their families. With hospice and home care, patients are able to live out their last days in a setting where they feel happy and comfortable. In addition, you’ll be an important, respected part of an interdisciplinary team of healthcare professionals, and you’ll have a flexible schedule.
Difficulties of this setting
Of course, given the nature of the home health/hospice setting, you’ll need to consider job difficulties before you choose this path. Loss will be part of your day-to-day work and you’ll need to remain emotionally strong. Also, you may be required to be on-call during your time off, and will be required to travel to patients homes throughout all seasons of the year — even when roads and driving conditions are bad.
Salary expectations of home health and hospice therapists
As a therapy professional in this setting, you’ll be well compensated for your work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2014, the average annual salaries for home health therapists were:
- $95,170 (speech language pathologists)
- $94,600 (physical therapists)
- $90,070 (occupational therapists)
For more information
To learn more about home health and hospice care, and becoming a therapist in this setting, you can visit the following organizations and journals online:
- National Association For Homecare and Hospice
- Hospice Foundation of America
- AJOT – Occupational Therapy in Hospice Care
- Hospice Education Institute: Occupational Therapy
- ASHA – End-of-Life Issues in Speech-Language Pathology
- National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
Are you looking for your next therapy position?
Look no further than PT Solutions. Run by therapists for therapists, our experienced therapy employment specialists will work with you for a placement that meets your skills, experience and career goals. To learn more, contact PT Solutions today.