Turnover in the long-term care industry is at a crisis point and threatens quality of care and quality of life for vulnerable adults who rely on long-term care services. A 2005 national survey found more than 76 percent of states reported that home care worker recruitment and retention were major policy issues. Even given the economic downturn and rising unemployment rates, the vast majority of states still experience significant difficulty in recruiting and retaining qualified direct care workers. These shortages are likely to worsen over time as demand increases.
This paper, developed with support from Service Employees International Union Healthcare 775NW, provides a broad overview of home care workforce issues in Washington State including findings from a 2011 survey project and interviews designed to further understanding of the needs of Washington’s home care workers and what motivates them to both enter and leave this profession.