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HCBS Direct Care Workforce Growth Outpaces Assisted Living and Nursing Home Workforce Growth

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The direct care workforce has created 1.5 million new jobs, growing from 3.2 million to 4.7 million, over the past decade, according to a new report from PHI. The growth in the direct home and community care workforce is outpacing the growth in the assisted living and nursing home workforce.

“This trend is expected to continue, with the direct care workforce expected to add an estimated 1.2 million new jobs from 2020 to 2030 – more new jobs than any other occupation in the country,” the author wrote. “Direct Care Workers in the United States: Key Facts.”

Among direct care workers, the approximately 2.6 million segment of nursing aides, home health aides and nursing assistants who work in private homes has the fastest employment growth rate. higher among direct care workers. According to the report, the home care workforce is expected to grow by 37% over the next decade.

The report includes data on three segments of the direct care workforce: home care workers, care aides working in assisted living facilities and similar communities, and care aides in nursing homes. retirement.

“Also taking into account jobs that need to be filled when existing workers transfer to other occupations or leave the workforce, there will be approximately 7.9 million total job vacancies in direct care. 2020 to 2030,” the report notes.

The Future of the Residential Caregiver Workforce – those who assist people in assisted living communities, group homes and other residential care settings – ​is a little harder to predict, PHI noted, due to a recent decline in employment in residential care. Yet the organization predicts that workers in this segment will increase by 22% over the next 10 years. Currently, there are 647,500 health care aides in the United States.

Meanwhile, PHI predicts that the number of practical nurses working in nursing homes will continue to decline from the 471,000 currently working in the field.

“These divergent trends in the long-term care industries are largely the result of consumer preferences for home care and public policies that have expanded [home- and community-based services] funding and access,” according to the report.

Direct care workers often work part-time for pay, but wages tend to rise, even after adjusting for inflation, the report said. PHI credited state and federal investments in Medicaid programs and the Workforce for Change. The report, however, noted that the median hourly rate for direct care workers was $14.27 in 2021.

“As a result, long-term care employers face serious recruitment and retention challenges as they compete with employers in other industries who can offer higher wages in a fiercely competitive job market. “, said PHI.