Defining a Long-term Care Workforce Shortage Designation: A Conceptual Approach


Tim Bates and Susan A. Chapman

Mar 2023

The aging of the US population is a well-documented phenomenon. In just 7 years, an estimated 73 million Americans will be aged 65 and over, equal to 21% of the population. Aging is associated with increased consumption of health care, and more specifically, long-term care services and supports (LTSS). The direct care workforce includes many categories of health care workers who provide LTSS (see Table 1 for which professions and occupations were included for this research brief). This workforce is estimated to add more than 1.3 million jobs between 2018-2028. However, it is not clear that this job growth will be sufficient to meet demand. Moreover, it is likely that growth of the direct care workforce will occur unevenly across geographic areas.

This brief describes a conceptual approach to constructing a long-term care workforce shortage designation, similar in scope to existing Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) health professional shortage area (HPSA) designations.