While the population ages, so do the health care workers. An aging population uses health care services more often but the population of heath care workers is shrinking in many cases.
Fact #286: In 2000, physicians spent an estimated 32 percent of patient care hours providing services to the age 65 and older population. If current consumption patterns continue, this percentage could increase to 39 percent by 2020. (Source: HRSA)
Fact #287: The aging population will increase the demand for physicians per thousand population from 2.8 in 2000 to 3.1 in 2020. Demand for full-time-equivalent (FTE) registered nurses per thousand population would increase from 7 to 7.5 during this same period. (Source: HRSA)
Fact #288: The aging of the health workforce raises concerns that many health professionals will retire about the same time that demand for their services is increasing. Furthermore, the declining proportion of the population age 18 to 30 raises concerns regarding the ability to attract a sufficient number of new health workers. (Source: HRSA)
Fact #289: The aging population could result in rising average patient acuity, which could in turn require higher nurse and physician staffing levels. (Source: HRSA)
Fact #290: Total requirements for FTE RNs are expected to increase from approximately 2 million in 2000 to 2.8 million in 2020 (a 41 percent increase). Requirements for FTE LPNs are expected to increase from 618,000 in 2000 to 905,000 in 2020 (a 46 percent increase). There is an expected increase in FTE nurse aide and home health aide requirements from 1.5 million in 2000 to 2.3 million in 2020 (a 50 percent increase). (Source: HRSA)
More information about worker shortages.