This report examines the training landscape for direct care workers and takes a closer look at the aspects of direct care work that are often unseen or underestimated, including its physical demands, social and emotional complexity, and growing contributions to consumers’ health management. It also proposes ways to maximize the role of the direct care worker in care delivery through upskilling, integration into care teams, and advanced roles, reviewing the evidence on such interventions to date.
The training landscape for this workforce is fragmented and outdated, with inconsistent rules and regulations across states, occupational categories and job titles, and payment programs.
There is a need to understand the considerable skill level required of direct care workers and the value their work offers to consumers, employers, and society at large.
Measuring the impact of well-trained and supported direct care workers on consumer outcomes, payers’ bottom lines, and public health will help us better appreciate the value of direct care work.