Strengthening The Workforce For People With Serious Illness: Top Priorities From A National Summit


Joanne Spetz and Nancy Dudley

November 15, 2018

The United States will experience significant growth of the population older than age 65 in the coming decades, which will contribute to an increase in the number of people living with chronic and serious illnesses in the community. Field experts, policy makers, and health care leaders have identified the lack of an adequately prepared workforce as a critical barrier to delivering high-quality, community-based care for this population.   

With support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Healthforce Center at UCSF brought together 40 national leaders from practice, payment, labor, advocacy, and research in May 2018 to make recommendations to accelerate progress toward an adequate workforce in the next three to five years. After three days of intensive discussion and prioritization, summit attendees made 16 recommendations within seven areas: expanding the pipeline, incorporating family caregivers into health care teams, supporting the home care workforce, leveraging technology to advance patient-centered team care, advocating for payment models that support community-based team-focused serious illness care, instilling cultural competency and humility skills across all health professions, and tracking the workforce. The list of recommendations is summarized at the end of this article.