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Groundbreaking Initiative Paves the Way for Stronger Bonds Between Direct Care Workers and Family Caregivers

October 27, 2023

NEW YORK, NY — PHI and the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) have unveiled The Direct Care Worker and Family Caregiver Initiative, an innovative, multi-year collaboration aimed at strengthening the relationship between direct care workers and family caregivers. This initiative emerges at a crucial time as the demand for care in this country soars, spotlighting the imperative role of these caregivers in ensuring the well-being of millions of individuals requiring long-term services and supports.

The direct care workforce is expected to add 1 million new jobs from 2021 to 2031—more new jobs than any other single occupation in the country. When also accounting for jobs that must be filled when existing workers transfer to other occupations or exit the labor force, there will be an estimated 9.3 million total job openings in direct care from 2021 to 2031. This job growth will occur primarily in the home and community-based services sector, with the home care and residential care workforces.

Funded by The John A. Hartford Foundation, this initiative will work to draw attention to the policy barriers, research needs, and workforce interventions that can elevate the vital relationship between these caregivers, creating a more sustainable long-term care system.

“Together, direct care workers and family caregivers form the backbone of our long-term care system, providing essential support to millions of older adults and people with disabilities,” said Jodi M. Sturgeon, president and CEO at PHI.

“Their critical connection frequently goes unrecognized, which hinders the full potential of this partnership in providing high-quality, person-centered care,” added Sturgeon.

Historically, direct care workers and family caregivers have not been formally integrated into care teams in a meaningful way, which can result in miscommunication, missed opportunities for collaboration, and poor care outcomes.

Additionally, the absence of a structured system to facilitate understanding and communication between these two essential groups often leads to them operating with different perspectives and expectations.

These challenges not only complicate the caregiving landscape but also amplify the emotional, physical, and financial strain experienced by both direct care workers and family caregivers. The consequences can be severe, leading to burnout and high turnover rates among direct care workers, as well as diminished health and well-being for both groups involved.

“Bolstering the relationship between direct care workers and family caregivers is a key pillar of the National Strategy to Support Family Caregivers and is necessary to make caregiving more sustainable for American families,” says Jason Resendez, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Caregiving.

“Our collaboration will work to increase awareness of the challenges direct care workers and family caregivers face as partners in providing care—and advocate for policy reforms that support this relationship,” added Resendez.

Last month, PHI and NAC convened a national advisory group of experts, including researchers, policymakers, and practitioners, to identify possible policy reforms that would strengthen the relationship between direct care workers and family caregivers.

These reforms span topics such as promoting the integration of these caregivers into interdisciplinary care teams, expanding access to consumer direction programs where family caregivers are compensated for their care, strengthening matching service registries where workers and caregivers can find each other, and investing in new research on the direct care worker and family caregiver dyad, building the knowledge base to improve both care and cost outcomes.

To learn more and stay up to date on the initiative, visit


About PHI

PHI is a national organization committed to strengthening the direct care workforce by producing robust research and analysis, leading federal and state advocacy initiatives, and designing groundbreaking workforce interventions and models. For more than 30 years, we have brought a 360-degree perspective on the long-term care sector to our evidence-informed strategies. As the nation’s leading authority on the direct care workforce, PHI promotes quality direct care jobs as the foundation for quality care. For further information, visit

About the National Alliance for Caregiving
Established in 1996, the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) is a national membership-based organization focused on building health, wealth, and equity for family caregivers through research, innovation, and advocacy. We envision a society that values, supports, and empowers family caregivers to thrive at home, work, and life. Learn more at

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