Wednesday, July 21, 2021
PHI recently released a new report, Federal Policy Priorities for the Direct Care Workforce. This excerpt from the introduction sets the stage
Throughout the country, millions of direct care workers—home care workers, residential care aides, and nursing assistants—ensure that older adults and people with disabilities have the support they need across care settings. The COVID-19 crisis has reinforced the enormous value of these workers, and government officials have rightfully deemed them “essential” during this period—one of the greatest truisms ever publicly affirmed about this workforce. Unfortunately, the quality of direct care jobs does not reflect their essential contribution. These jobs are often characterized by inadequate compensation, limited training and advancement opportunities, long-standing inequities, and a general lack of recognition and support. As a result, employers struggle to recruit and retain workers during a time when the rapid aging of this country continually drives up demand for these workers— with many workers opting for modestly better jobs in fast food and retail. Without enough workers willing to take these jobs, consumers are forced to go without the services they need, and family caregivers are left without support and respite.
The report focuses on eight categories, providing data, discussion and recommendations for each category. The categories cover financing, compensation, training, workforce interventions, data collection, direct care worker leadership, equity, and public narrative.
The report concludes with a call for action:
Federal leaders across the board can make this vision a reality by prioritizing direct care workers and investing in long-term care financing, compensation, training, workforce interventions, data collection, direct care worker leadership, equity, and the public narrative. We have always believed that quality care is rooted in quality jobs—now is the time for a federal strategy that brings this mission to life.