Investing in California’s Direct Care Workforce by Increasing Geriatric Training Opportunities

Source: SCAN Foundation, August 2009

On any given day, 126,000 Californians in nursing homes receive care from Certifed Nursing
Assistants (CNAs). An additional number of the State’s residents receive care in their own homes from the 54,260 registered Home Health Aides (HHAs). Each of these persons is dependent on Direct Care Workers (DCWs) to address at least some of their most fundamental human needs. The DCW is also a liaison to the nursing staff, reporting the care-receiver’s medical and emotional status and she or he may also be the person’s key connection to the outside world.

This paper was developed as a “think piece” to stimulate dialogue among stakeholders who are
discussing the needed components of training for DCWs. For 35 years, NCCNHR has maintained this kind of dialogue with long-term care consumers including nursing home and board and care residents, their families, and their advocates, and more recently those receiving services in their own homes. As our experience has shown in this paper, DCWs are essential to the quality of life for and quality of care of older adults. Furthermore, there is a critical need to better support DCWs through cultural sensitivity, involvement in care planning, by addressing systemic issues and through comprehensive training opportunities.

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