This article originally appeared on the PHI blog.
A new online resource aims to strengthen the evidence base on the direct care workforce by gathering and centralizing the various studies, reports, and other resources that have been published about these workers—and by supporting leaders across disciplines in filling the knowledge gaps on this workforce.
As the country’s largest online library of information on direct care workers, The National Direct Care Workforce Center will support researchers, policymakers, practitioners, advocates, and journalists in better understanding—and building the knowledge base on—this critical workforce of 4.5 million home care workers, nursing assistants, and other direct care workers.
The National Direct Care Workforce Center is led and hosted by PHI, a national research and consulting organization widely recognized as the leading expert on the direct care workforce.
“Over the years, the topic of direct care workers has gained attention, and we’ve seen a growing range of studies, publications, and other resources that illuminate many of the challenges facing these critical workers,” said PHI President Jodi M. Sturgeon. “As well as promoting these important resources, we hope our resource center compels leaders to focus on issue areas that need more attention to effectively transform this workforce.”
The National Direct Care Workforce Center includes:
- The latest research, analysis, and information from the field on the direct care workforce—the largest-growing occupation in the country;
- Hundreds of reports, briefs, fact sheets, multimedia resources, and select journal articles published largely since 2010—a library of shareable materials that will grow over time;
- A range of search tools that allow users to easily identify resources by issue area, topic, publication type, date, region, and more; and
- The ability for leaders in the field to submit their original items for consideration in the Resource Center—ensuring it remains current.
DIRECT CARE WORKERS & COVID-19
Direct care workers support millions of older adults and people with disabilities in a variety of long-term care settings—from private homes to nursing homes to residential care—yet routinely struggle in low-paying jobs that are poorly recognized in the health care system and by society at large. High turnover in this rapidly growing sector has also compelled a recruitment and retention crisis that merits more attention.
Because COVID-19 particularly threatens the lives of older adults and people with serious medical conditions, many of whom are supported by direct care workers, this workforce has risen in visibility and value.
“The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the many structural challenges facing direct care workers—including poor compensation, insufficient training, limited government funding, and much more—and we hope that this resource center helps our sector understand what’s needed to address these challenges, strengthen this workforce, and improve our long-term care system overall,” said PHI Vice President of Policy Robert Espinoza.
HISTORY & PURPOSE
In 2000, in collaboration with the Institute for the Future of Aging Services, and with funding support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, PHI launched the National Clearinghouse on the Direct Care Worker, the first online resource of publications on the direct care workforce.
This clearinghouse was instrumental in raising early awareness about the critical role of direct care workers in the lives of millions of people—meeting a need that has only grown more pressing over time. Since the launch of the original clearinghouse, the direct care workforce has gained significant attention, generating a growing body of research, analysis, and information on these workers.
This May, PHI has transformed and relaunched this resource, updating its content and modernizing its features and usability so that leaders in the field can easily search for content. The new site is called: The National Direct Care Workforce Resource Center .
Visit The National Direct Care Workforce Resource Center here.
Note: The National Direct Care Workforce Resource Center was designed by Constructive, a strategy and design firm for social impact.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.