Many factors contribute to the demand and supply of healthcare products and services. The influences are as diverse as the products and services themselves, and different events can have different effects on supply and demand. Home healthcare has become a service which is in high demand as individuals are living longer and are seeking to remain in their homes when they have chronic conditions that require management. This research considers the issues of supply and demand as they relate to home healthcare, including external environmental factors that influence supply and demand for this service.
Demand for home healthcare services is increasing for many reasons. Chief among these is the aging population in general, and the aging baby boomers specifically. As individuals age, they develop chronic conditions which may require medical supervision, and when individuals or couples own their homes, there is a reluctance to remove the individuals to nursing facilities except as a last resort. This is due to economic and emotional factors. Another factor contributing to an increase in demand for home healthcare services are advances in medical technology which make it possible manage conditions in a home setting that previously would have required hospitalization or the services of a skilled nursing facility. In addition, insurance plans are more likely to cover home healthcare than in the twentieth century; this also has increased demand for home healthcare services since consumers often do not have to pay the full cost of the service out-of-pocket. The result is that the number of home healthcare jobs in the United States is expected to reach more than 1.3 million by 2014 ("Home Health Care Overview," 2008).
Home healthcare services can be delivered by individuals with a wide variety of skill levels. These range from aides to skilled nurses and even physicians. Howev