How Training and Multimedia Can Help Fix the Home Care Shortage

Home care workers at Cooperative Home Care Associates in New York City being trained by PHI, a national research and consulti
Home care workers at Cooperative Home Care Associates in New York City being trained by PHI, a national research and consulting nonprofit focused on the direct care workforce.

For people who rely on home care workers to get them through the day, training is essential. It ensures these workers obtain the skills they need to deliver quality care.

But for home care workers, proper training can also lead to advanced roles that make their jobs more satisfying and keep them in the sector. And it can create more efficient, cost-effective models of care critical for today's economy.

PHI, a national research and consulting nonprofit, launched a pilot training project in 2015 to improve home health care delivery by expanding the role of workers. Across 1,800 clients in New York City, the project led to improved health outcomes, including reduced hospitalizations.

Now in partnership with WorkingNation, a national group that uses multimedia to address work and employment challenges, PHI is bringing wider attention to this project, as well as to the growing need for proper home care training and advanced roles in a time of pronounced workforce shortages. WorkingNation recently produced a video on PHI’s training “Care Connections Project,” which can be seen here.

I spoke with Jay Tipton at WorkingNation about these issues, their national strategies, and what the home care field needs to support paid caregivers.

Robert Espinoza: Tell us about WorkingNation.

Jay Tipton: WorkingNation is a not for profit campaign telling the stories of organizations, corporations, educators, and individuals around the country that are addressing the challenging issues facing the modern workforce. WorkingNation seeks to inform and ignite a spark of change to improve the future of work for employees and employers in our country.

RE: What are the biggest issues facing working people today?

JT: I think the biggest issue workers today face is understanding and adapting to a world of work that is far different than it was in the past. In 2017, a high school diploma or college degree isn’t all a working person needs to start or maintain a career. New jobs created by new technology and automation, require skills that aren’t generally taught through traditional education. In a labor market rocked by constant change, workers need to continually learn and upskill to remain career ready.

RE: WorkingNation has produced content across a variety of formats—data shorts, data visualizations, short films, and more. How can multi-media storytelling help improve jobs and address unemployment in the U.S.?

JT: Multi-media storytelling is a means to reach a wider and more diverse audience. People today digest stories, news, and information in more ways than ever before, whether it’s a short film on YouTube or an information card on Facebook. The broader the reach, the more eyeballs watching. And many of those eyes have the power to make a difference, whether it’s on the local, state or federal level. By producing content focused on the new world of work and potential massive unemployment, we can the supercharge needed change.

RE: What inspired you to produce a video on PHI's Care Connections project?

JT: Many reasons. PHI’s efforts are disrupting the way home health care is perceived by the public and government stakeholders. They’ve been involved in the fight to provide home care workers the same federal labor protections – minimum wage protections, overtime pay, and travel pay – that apply to almost every other worker in the nation. PHI is charging forward and introducing advanced technology into their training programs to increase the efficiency of their trainees, helping to prepare them for a 21st century labor market. PHI is a wonderful example of how investing in training, curricula and infrastructure can prepare a greater number of workers for in-demand jobs.

RE: What should workforce and long-term care leaders take away from this video?

JT: First and foremost, it’s important for both the workforce and care leaders to understand the positive change that the home health care field is experiencing. Organizations like PHI have had a tremendous impact on the nature of the work, the image of the career, and the lives of the care providers, their clients and families. Other care leaders or organizations can replicate the same ideals and approaches PHI has pioneered. Additionally, it’s important to note how rapidly the home care workforce is growing. By 2024, the amount of home care workers needed is expected to grow by over 600,000. There is a terrific amount of opportunity for future workers.

RE: If you could direct our country's most influential leaders to address one challenge affecting home care workers, what would it be—and why?

JT: Increased wages. Don’t get me wrong, there has been income growth inside the home care industry but there is plenty of room for improvement. Many home care workers hover right around the poverty line, and for a job that is so dearly important to many Americans – providing care of our families, friends and loved ones – the wages should reflect that.

Jay Tipton is a film, commercial and documentary producer. He joined the WorkingNation team in 2015 as a member of the Content Team where he’s worked on a wide variety of documentaries and digital films. He is also a frequent contributor and writer for the WorkingNation website. Outside of the WorkingNation projects, Jay has produced commercials for major companies including GMC, Nissan, Shure, Walmart, and Reebok. His career began as an Agent Trainee in United Talent Agency’s Production Department where he worked with some of the industries most talented film and television producers, cinematographers and production designers. He is an extremely proud Indiana University Hoosier.

Learn more about PHI at PHInational.org or 60CaregiverIssues.org.

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