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PHI Launches Research Series on ‘New Populations’ in Direct Care

By Robert Espinoza | April 2, 2018

NEW YORK — Today, PHI released the first fact sheet in a three-part series focused on recruiting “new populations” into the direct care workforce.

Direct care workers assist older adults and people living with disabilities with daily tasks, such as dressing, bathing, and eating—and comprise a workforce that is expected to grow from 4.4 million to 5.8 million workers between 2016 and 2026.

The first fact sheet examines the demographic profile of younger workers, aged 18-24, who according to PHI total 31 million people and make up 16 percent of the direct care workforce.

“As the long-term care industry increasingly struggles to fill positions in direct care, we will need to bring more attention to recruiting underutilized groups such as young people, older people, and men,” said Jodi M. Sturgeon, president of PHI, a national research and consulting nonprofit widely considered the nation’s leading authority on direct care.

“The future of our sector depends on successfully recruiting a diverse workforce,” added Sturgeon.

For this series, “new populations” are defined as U.S. demographic segments that could strengthen the direct care sector. According to PHI, the shortage could be addressed by both improving the quality of direct care jobs and by recruiting “new populations” into this workforce.

The direct care sector faces a severe workforce shortage spurred by high turnover rates among workers and by growing demand. As more Americans turn 65 every year, demand for these workers will surge, which will make recruiting new workers even more essential.

“We hope this research encourages leaders in the long-term care field to think expansively about recruiting different types of workers,” said Kezia Scales, PhD, director of policy research at PHI.

“At the same time, we know that the best way to recruit any worker to this job is to ensure it offers the compensation, training, and advancement opportunities that turn the job into a fulfilling career,” said Scales.

Each fact sheet in the series offers a quick snapshot on these demographic groups, as well as a few tips for recruiting them. Future fact sheets will look at older workers and men, respectively, and will be released later this month.

This brief is part of PHI’s #60CaregiverIssues campaign, an education campaign focused on the growing workforce shortage in home care. Since its launch in February 2017, the campaign has generated widespread media coverage and released the first 36 issues.

Robert Espinoza
About The Author

Robert Espinoza

Vice President of Policy
Robert Espinoza oversees PHI's national policy, research, and communications division. He has been a national policy expert, communications strategist, and writer for 20 years.
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