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PHI Studies Personal Care Aide Training Standards in Arizona

September 29, 2017

PHI Studies Personal Care Aide Training Standards in ArizonaPHI recently released issue 16 in its #60CaregiverIssues campaign, a national public education campaign to tackle the growing workforce shortage in paid caregiving.

Training Standards for Personal Care Aides: Spotlight on Arizona looks at the process through which Arizona enacted statewide training standards for personal care aides. This case study is part of a three-part series of leading examples for how to improve training standards for personal care aides.

Within recent years, demographic trends and shifting consumer preferences have driven up demand for a well-trained personal care aide workforce in Arizona and nationwide. There has been exponential growth among the older adult population, many of whom will require long-term care and most of whom prefer to receive services in their homes rather than in nursing homes. Care in nursing homes is generally costlier and more restrictive than home care.

Yet prior to 2012, Arizona did not require any training for personal care aides, who assist people with activities of daily living and often help with housekeeping, chores, meal preparation, and medication management. In some cases, aides in the state received duplicative training when moving between jobs, while other aides might have begun work without enough training. These trends inferred that home care consumers were not guaranteed their workers had been trained in the basic skills required to provide personal care.

The inadequacy of training standards was addressed for the first time in Arizona by two state-sponsored workgroups: the Citizens Workgroup on the Long-Term Care Workforce and the Direct Care Workforce Committee. After extensive deliberation and pilot-testing, they recommended that aides complete a foundational skills training followed by a population-specific training. They also suggested workers demonstrate their competency by passing a standardized test. In 2012, the state incorporated these recommendations into state Medicaid policy.

The result of Arizona’s efforts is a well-received, statewide training system that assures consumers and employers that personal care aides have achieved competency in the skills required for their jobs. The inclusive, gradual process through which Arizona arrived at these standards is a useful model for other states as they consider enacting their own training standards.

Read the full case study here.

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