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Who Will Care for Us? Addressing the Long-Term Care Workforce Crisis

Publication Date

This paper provides a broad overview of the issues affecting the long-term care frontline workforce. The first section provides a profile of the workers and describes the nature of their jobs across the continuum of long-term care settings. That section is followed by a discussion of the urgency and magnitude of the problem from both short and long-term perspectives. We underscore the need to address the immediate crisis related to the shortage of workers, as well as the more systemic problem of developing a qualified, committed, stable frontline workforce. The third section reviews the factors influencing the supply and quality of frontline workers. At the macro level, these include how society views this occupation, the status of the economy, and policies affecting health and long-term care, labor, welfare and immigration. At the micro level, factors affecting the supply and quality of frontline workers include organizational arrangements, social factors, environmental characteristics, and technology. In the fourth section, we identify public and private sector efforts to increase the supply of frontline workers and to develop a qualified, sustainable workforce. The fifth section outlines a research and demonstration agenda that will help inform the development of policies and programs to ensure the availability of a trained, committed, and caring pool of frontline workers in the 21st century. [44 PDF pages]