Earlier this month, a coalition of 25 national organizations established the Eldercare Workforce Alliance to strengthen the direct-care workforce that supports older adults. This alliance will work to develop practical solutions to providing better training, supervision and compensation, while addressing clinician and faculty shortages to enable health care providers and caregivers better serve the unique care needs of older adults.
The alliance was created in response to a 2008 report, Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Workforce, issued by the Institute of Medicine and funded in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This report found that the elder care workforce is dangerously understaffed and unprepared to meet the needs of the growing number of older adults in the United States. Compared to other disciplines, geriatric care attracts fewer specialists and experiences high turnover rates among direct-care workers—nurse aides, home health aides and personal care aides.