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PHI Launches Initiative to Transform Home Care Jobs in Minnesota

July 24, 2018

By working with three renowned home care providers throughout Minnesota, PHI’s initiative aims to improve home care delivery across the state.

NEW YORK —PHI formally launched an initiative today that seeks to transform home care jobs throughout Minnesota, reducing turnover in this sector and improving care for the state’s residents. PHI—a national research and consulting organization widely considered the leading expert on the direct care workforce—will work with three leading home care providers in Minnesota to implement this initiative.

The provider organizations partnering with PHI include: Accra (Hopkins, MN); Benedictine Health System (Duluth, MN); and Knute Nelson (Alexandria, MN).

“At a time when the workforce shortage in home care has heightened the need for large-scale, sustainable solutions, we are thrilled to be working side-by-side with these dedicated home care leaders to envision a vastly improved home care sector in this state,” said Jodi M. Sturgeon, president at PHI.

According to Sturgeon, a key aspect of this initiative will be to “elevate the role of the aide” in Minnesota’s home care system—training and supporting them to have more meaningful roles in this sector.

Over the next two years, PHI will work with these providers to create advanced roles for home care aides; develop entry-level training programs and curricula; provide coaching supervision training for managers; tailor a series of field-proven recruitment and retention strategies, and pilot an eLearning approach that would create an efficient, cost-effective training solution to support consumers who function as employers for home care workers.

Providers in this initiative were selected because they are renowned for their leadership in their communities and across Minnesota, they represent a cross-section of issues shaping home care at the state level, and they have the capacity and dedication to undertake an important, multi-year initiative.

“An initiative of this magnitude requires a multi-faceted approach that engages leaders throughout the organization—from home care workers on the frontline, to managers and executives, to the broader workplace culture,” said Susan R. Misiorski, vice president of workforce innovations at PHI.

The number of people age 65 and older in Minnesota is expected to grow from approximately 870,000 in 2017 to 1.2 million in 2027, according to a 2017 report from PHI. Unfortunately, a growing “care gap” between the number of older people in Minnesota and women aged 20-64 (the typical demographic for home care workers) threatens to disrupt the direct care sector.

Despite its growing importance—and the exceptional leadership of many “high road” employers in the field, including those participating in this initiative—the home care job at the national level has long been undervalued, as evidenced by low wages, and minimal training or advancement opportunities, among other factors. Moreover, the poor quality of home care jobs can lead to high turnover in this sector, which hovers around 60 percent nationally, making it difficult for many providers to meet growing demand.

These problems are most profound in rural areas where health-related resources are often thinner—and clients and workers are geographically dispersed across large areas.

“We hope to create a model that informs rural home care strategies around the country,” said Misiorski, who’s also leading a similar PHI project in Wisconsin. “The challenges facing home care workers in Minnesota and their clients resemble what’s happening nationwide.”

Reactions from Minnesota Providers

“Accra is committed to supporting people with disabilities and older adults as well as the people who provide their care. Partnering with Accra, PHI will be doing something they have not done before, focusing on helping clients who self-direct their service to recruit and retain the highest quality of employee as their care givers.” ~ John Dahm, President/CEO, Accra

“Benedictine Health System is pleased to be part of PHI’s initiative to address recruitment and retention challenges specific to assisted living home care jobs in Minnesota. This opportunity to transform home care positions and ultimately reduce turnover of these valuable direct care staff will help us maintain a quality workforce and better serve those entrusted to our care.” ~ Patricia Nott, MA, CCP, Vice President, People Development, Benedictine Health System. BHS communities participating in this initiative are Benedictine Living Community of St. Peter, and St. Crispin Living Community, Red Wing.

“Caregiving is meaningful work and it requires special individuals. As an organization that provides care in rural Minnesota communities, finding and retaining those individuals can be challenging. We are excited to be working with PHI and believe this initiative will provide our team with the training and education they need to feel empowered to grow personally and professionally, and to ultimately provide the highest quality care possible to the individuals we serve.” ~ Brooke Zabel, Vice President of Human Resources, Knute Nelson

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