WBUR Reports on Home Care Workforce Stuggles

Home care workforce struggles are being highlighted based on data collected by the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute and reported by WBUR.

The data is staggering and all points to a theme that the New England states will struggle with attracting enough home care workers to meet demand. The six states in the region also have the lowest birthing rates in the country. Combined with a rapidly aging population, researchers conclude that the workforce has to come from outside the region and likely outside of the united States entirely. The story points out the following stats:

As of 2014, more than a quarter of the home health care workers in Massachusetts were foreign-born, according to census data compiled by the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute. Forty-one percent of the nursing assistants in the state’s assisted living facilities were also born outside of the U.S. And these numbers likely miss immigrants who work part-time or who may be here illegally and working under the radar.

The WBUR story quotes Barry Bluestone, a professor of public policy at Northeastern University who’s run some of the jobs numbers, and predicts that in Massachusetts, “we’re going to need about 93,000 additional home care workers over the next 10 years, or almost 10,000 a year.”

Bluestone lays out that the enormous challenge is potentially compounded by the political landscape:

“These are overwhelmingly immigrant workers, and what I fear is if the current kind of political environment either shuts off immigration, or potential immigrants look at the United States and say this is not a very comfortable or safe place to be,” Bluestone says. “I don’t have any idea how we’re going to fill those 10,000 jobs each year.”

WBUR also had a follow-up piece on their “Morning Edition” show spoke only to 1199 Service Employees International Union as a “representative” of the home care industry and workforce.  SEIU shared national wage data and touted their work to achieve local raises to personal care attendants (PCA), leaving unaddressed the broader problem for home health aides, homemakers and other in-home caregivers related to rates and regulation. Recognizing the difficulty of covering a complex issue in a five-minute radio interview, the Home Care Alliance contacted WBUR with clarifying information and offered the organization’s expertise, along with that of member agencies.

For those looking, employers and job seekers in the home health industry may find career information through the New England Home Care Career Center, which is co-managed by the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts.

 

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

 

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