Home-care work­force much larger than ar­ti­cle states, a reader says

Modern Healthcare - - NEWS -

Joe Carl­son’s ar­ti­cle “Safe at home” (Jan. 14, p. 32) un­der­states the num­ber of di­rect-care work­ers in the home-care in­dus­try. He cites a government source, which tracks home health aides but does not in­clude per­sonal-care aides. To­day’s home-care work­force is more than dou­ble Carl­son’s es­ti­mate, or 2.5 mil­lion work­ers. That in­cludes 924,650 home health aides, 820,600 per­sonal-care aides and 800,000 in­de­pen­dent providers em­ployed in pub­lic pro­grams. Per­sonal-care aides top the list of fastest-grow­ing oc­cu­pa­tions in the na­tion this decade.

Yet there are no fed­eral train­ing stan­dards for per­sonal-care aides. And a re­cent Para­pro­fes­sional Health­care In­sti­tute anal­y­sis found that 23 states have at least one pub­licly funded per­sonal as­sis­tance pro­gram with no train­ing re­quire­ments for per­sonal-care staff.

Fed­er­ally man­dated crim­i­nal back­ground checks may help screen out dis­rep­utable peo­ple in the rapidly grow­ing home-care field, but fed­eral train­ing stan­dards and well-de­signed re­cruit­ment prac­tices for per­sonal-care aides would do much more to en­sure that con­sumers re­ceive qual­ity care.

Jodi Stur­geon Pres­i­dent, Para pro­fes­sional Health care In­sti­tute, New York

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