Home And Community-Based Workforce For Patients With Serious Illness Requires Support To Meet Growing Needs


Joanne Spetz, Robyn I. Stone, Susan A. Chapman, and Natasha Bryant

Aug 2019

Home health and personal care aides are one of the largest groups of health care workers in the US, with nearly three million people providing direct care for people with serious illness living in the community. These home care workers face challenges in recruitment, training, retention, and regulation, and there is a lack of data and research to support evidence-based policy change. Personal care aides receive little formal training, and they experience low pay and a lack of respect for the skill required for their jobs. High turnover and occupational injury rates are widely reported. There is little research on the factors associated with higher-quality home care, the extent to which worker training affects client outcomes, and how regulations affect access to and quality of home care. Health care leaders should seek to fill these gaps in knowledge, support the establishment of training standards and programs, implement Medicaid reimbursement strategies that incentivize improvements in pay and working conditions, reform regulations that now prevent the full utilization of home care workers, and create sustainable career pathways in home care policies.