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National Academy of Medicine Recognizes Importance of Supporting Direct Care Workers

September 30, 2016

The National Academy of Medicine’s new discussion paper addresses what changes are needed to provide quality care for an aging population. The paper identifies as a priority strengthening the eldercare workforce, including the direct care workforce.

Among the recommendations pertaining to the direct care workforce are:

  • Requiring a minimum of 120 hours of training, including specific training on caring for older adults, to be certified as a nursing assistant or home health aide;
  • Establishing minimum training requirements for personal care aides (PCAs);
  • Incorporating direct care workers into care teams; 
  • Ensuring direct care workers are compensated with a living wage; 
  • Establishing a National Geriatric Service Corps to help with training, loan forgiveness, and scholarships; 
  • Developing apprenticeship opportunities for direct care workers; and 
  • Strengthening leave policies related to employee and family sickness. 

PHI is pleased to see these recommendations, which align with our quality jobs framework. It is essential to examine the core competencies required for to deliver quality care and to align training requirements to meet these needs. As the discussion paper makes clear, ensuring adequate wages, training, and supports for all direct care workers is essential to ensuring quality of care and quality of life for older adults.

–by Allison Cook, acook@phinational.org

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