Caregivers Should be Paid More and Better Trained to Lower Senior Care Costs MIT Professor Reports

Senior caregivers should have more training and better pay in order to deliver higher quality care to seniors, according to MIT Sloan School of Management professor Paul Osterman. who has authored "Who Will Care for Us? Long-Term Care and the Long-Term Workforce".

Long-term care support services cost Americans $310 billion a year, accounting for both Medicaid care and private payments. As Medicare does not pay for long-term senior care services (only for short-term nursing home stays for rehabilitation), all Americans must pay privately unless they spend down their assets and qualify for Medicaid, for low-income seniors with few assets.

More numbers:

  • 14 million Americans needed long-term care in 2015
  • 22 million Americans will need long-term care by 2030

As home care aides are limited regarding some of the services they can administer, with eye-drops used as the example in Mr. Osterman's recent Wall Street Journal opinion article, services must pay for the additional cost for a Registered Nurse to drop in and perform these regulated tasks.

However home caregivers spend the most time with the senior and can easily be trained to do some of the tasks they are now limited from doing. The improved training could also include learning more about chronic diseases. As technology now allows us to use Apps to monitor many conditions, there are many opportunities available to develop more hands-on training skills for home caregivers. And if this lowers the cost of home care and delivers higher quality care, then why not? 

Caregiver training skills which we call "basic caregiver training' encompass the minimum standards for quality care delivery, such as learning how to safely transfer a senior from bed to wheelchair, understanding how to record proper care plan notes and follow the HIPAA privacy law and understand how to communicate with different generations. Training for stroke survivor care, Alzheimer's disease care and more are part of ongoing annual training renewals. Caregiver training varies in each state, based on health department regulations, but most licensed senior home care agencies are required to provide basic caregiver training. Medicaid home health aides are required to take initial training and annual training and this also varies depending on the state's requirements.

As seniors will be living longer than previous generations ever imagined, it makes sense to modernize the training for senior care.

Free caregiver training briefs are available to all caregivers on Caregiverlist as an introduction to the training required for caregiver certification.


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