Posted Sunday December 12, 2021

A study published last week in the policy journal Health Affairs examines trends in the long-term care workforce across the United States. Most states have seen an increase in the size of their home care workforce, the nursing home workforce has experienced a slight decrease, a new analysis shows. This growth and decline took place between 2009 and 2021. the direct care workforce has seen risen from three million workers in 2009 to 4.6 million workers in 2019. Long-term care workers make up roughly one-fifth of the entire U.S. health care workforce.

“There has been a push for several decades to move long-term care services away from institutions like nursing homes and into home- and community-based settings, when appropriate,” Esther Friedman, a research associate professor at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research and one of the study’s authors said in an email. “People generally want to age at home, if they can, and programs like home- and community-based waivers, and other grants and financial incentives providing funding for home- and community-based services, have made that more feasible. These types of programs could be part of what is guiding the growth we are seeing in the home care workforce relative to the nursing home workforce.”

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