Sign Up to Receive PHI Alerts

STUDY: More Long-Term Care Workers Needed, Especially Home Care Aides

June 25, 2015

The U.S. will need three million more long-term care workers over the next 15 years, according to a study published in the June issue of Health Affairs.

Personal care and home health aides are expected to contribute 1.2 million jobs by 2030 — accounting for 40 percent of new jobs in long-term care.

The study’s authors anticipate that shifts in utilization patterns towards more home and community-based service delivery will transfer much of the demand from high-paying professional occupations to entry-level home care jobs.

The researchers modeled six potential scenarios for changing utilization patterns, incorporating research on long-term care spending and utilization preferences of different racial and ethnic groups.

They concluded that spending patterns will increase the likelihood that, in the coming decades, more long-term care will be delivered in home and community-based settings and less in nursing facilities and other institutions.

While a 20 percent decrease in nursing home utilization relative to home and community-based services would decrease the total number of long-term care jobs needed — mostly the jobs of institutional workers such as registered nurses, nursing assistants, and food preparation staff — it would increase the number of home care aides needed by 50,000.

According to the study’s authors, such a scenario may soon be a reality. They conclude that given the “forecasted growth of the number of direct-care provider jobs, now is the time to develop and enhance training and education programs for all direct-care workers.”

— by Stephen Campbell, PHI Policy Research Associate

Caring for the Future

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

Workforce Data Center

From wages to employment statistics, find the latest data on the direct care workforce.