The Year of the Great Idea
What are the characteristics of a great idea? Does it solve a widespread problem that seemed intractable? Does it help decision makers see the larger picture and connect all the dots? Does it inspire a community or a sector to act decisively—drawing people out of the well of defeatism?
In 2018, we saw many great ideas take hold for direct care workers—a workforce that has long served as the paid frontline of long-term care and as a lifeline for millions of people. Unfortunately, the poor quality of direct care jobs continues to drive away workers, threatening the availability of supports for older people and people with disabilities.
Here are some of the great ideas that emerged in 2018:
- Home care providers in Minnesota and Wisconsin launched initiatives to improve home care across their states, particularly in rural areas.
- Throughout the country, advocates successfully moved policy measures at the federal and state level to improve recruitment and retention, strengthen data collection, invest in geriatrics training, and bolster the supports offered by family caregivers and volunteer caregivers—among other successes.
- Organizations published a range of reports related to direct care, analyzing topics as diverse as racial disparities, dementia care, and workplace injuries.
- Journalists deepened their investigation of this workforce, writing about sexual harassment, transportation barriers, and the effects of anti-immigrant sentiment on the direct care workforce supply, to name a few.
- Long-term care leaders tapped the power of technology to improve scheduling for workers, boost recruitment, and promote e-learning approaches—all while holding steadfast to the principle that technology should not displace workers.
- Our award-winning #60CaregiverIssues campaign came to an end, after generating headline after headline on the workforce shortage in home care, and rightfully positioning these workers at the center of the national discourse.
But we need more great ideas. Direct care workers deserve jobs that properly reflect the central role they play in our country’s care system. Older people, people with disabilities, and their families need quality supports. And long-term care merits a larger investment to improve equity and access.
We’re a long way from achieving this reality—but the next great idea will move us one step closer.
Scroll through the 60 ideas we generated to help solve the workforce shortage in home care. >>
Read our 2018 “Year in Review” on the direct care workforce. >>