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Caregiving Crisis across America Spurs PHI Public Education Campaign

January 30, 2017

On Tuesday, February 7, PHI will launch #60CaregiverIssues, a national, online public education campaign to tackle the growing crisis in paid caregiving. Increasingly, families face stark choices when it comes to finding support for their loved ones. Adults managing care for their parents reduce their work hours, or leave work altogether, because they cannot find professional caregivers. From Michigan to New York, Area Agencies on Aging report growing waitlists of individuals who need assistance with dressing, bathing, and preparing meals. Nursing homes say understaffing has become a chronic problem.

#60CaregiverIssues Public Education Campaign
To elevate the national conversation around these issues—and to find a solution that works—#60CaregiverIssues will identify 60 ideas that can help policymakers and long-term leaders strengthen the direct care workforce and build a vibrant, sustainable system of long-term services and supports.

“PHI works closely with home care providers and nursing homes around the country,” says PHI President Jodi M. Sturgeon. “Today, the number one challenge is finding and keeping direct care workers. There are multiple reasons for this shortage, from insufficient public funding that keeps wages low to poor training that undermines workers’ success and increases turnover, and much more. This campaign represents our best thinking on how to address this shortage from all angles.”

Five Themes
Over a two-year period, the campaign will release a new issue every two to three weeks, addressing five themes:

  • Facts and Trends. What does the latest research say about occupational trends, and the staggering mismatch between supply and demand?
  • Future of Long‐Term Care. In many states, long-term care is being delivered through managed care organizations. What should we know about the how this impacts quality of jobs and quality of care?
  • Quality Jobs. How do direct care worker wages compare to other occupations? What factors, beyond wages and benefits, impact the ability of employers to attract and keep these workers?
  • Stories from the Field. Nearly 5 million direct care workers currently support over 8 million older Americans and people living with disabilities. Who are these workers, and who are the people they support? What can we learn from these stories about improving our systems of care?
  • Training and Advanced Roles. Are a few weeks of training for direct care workers sufficient to meet the needs of millions of consumers living with physical disabilities or with conditions such as dementia?

Joining Together to Find Solutions
“Our campaign is intended to deepen the public conversation on caregiving,” says Robert Espinoza, PHI Vice President of Policy. “We want policymakers, long-term care leaders, consumers, and the public to take this opportunity to learn about the issues, to share their experiences, and to join together to propose solutions that work.”

“All of us will one day grapple with the challenges of finding accessible long-term care, either as a caregiver, someone managing care, or someone who needs care,” says Espinoza. “This is truly a universal problem.”

Caring for the Future

Our new policy report takes an extensive look at today's direct care workforce—in five installments.

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