A new report from PHI provides eight recommendations for improving jobs performed by home care workers, residential care aides and nursing assistants.  

“Direct care workers are essential to the health and survival of millions of older adults and people with disabilities, but the quality of their jobs doesn’t reflect this enormous value,” PHI President Jodi M. Sturgeon said. “It’s time that leaders across the country, from government to the private, prioritize this workforce and transform these jobs once and for all.”

The authors recommend:

  • Long-term care financing reform to strengthen direct care jobs;
  • Increased compensation for direct care workers;
  • Stronger training standards and delivery systems for direct care workers;
  • Funding to implement and evaluate direct care workforce interventions; 
  • Improved direct care workforce data collection and monitoring;
  • Direct care workers assuming leadership and public policy roles;
  • Efforts to address systemic gender and racial inequities for direct care workers; and
  • Work to shift the public narrative on direct care workers.

Nationwide, 4.6 million direct care workers, including 2.4 million home care workers, care for a growing population of older adults with increasingly complex conditions, according to the report. The report anticipates 4.7 million job openings in home care. Long-term care added 34,700 new establishments from 2007 to 2017; most, 22,200, were in home care, the authors said.