- Compile a database of trained workers.
- Establish partnerships with other agencies throughout Michigan to develop a strong coalition of people in support of a high quality Direct Care Workforce.
- Design a curriculum for trainers and an infrastructure to allow the scaling up of teaching Direct Care Workers statewide.
- Coordinate efforts and develop win-win strategies that will increase efficiency, cost-effectiveness and positive outcomes for everyone.
A Michigan State University led research team is tackling a problem faced by all of us including our parents, our partners, and ultimately ourselves. The U.S. and Michigan’s populations are rapidly aging which is creating a greater demand for high-quality, lower cost supports and services at home, where most people prefer to live for as long as possible in their later years. Paid direct care assistance beyond what families can provide is often needed but there is a critical shortage of people trained to do this kind of work. Employers are facing serious difficulty in finding, hiring and retaining high-quality direct care workers (DCWs) and the shortage is expected to become worse as the baby boom generation ages.
We need more DCWs but we also want competent DCWs who know how to provide support safely and with respect and who like their job and plan to stay in it. Studies clearly show that a stable, trained direct care workforce results in higher worker and client satisfaction and better client health outcomes including fewer falls and emergency department visits. Despite this evidence, no federal DCW competency or training requirements exist. The research project, titled “IMPART” (an Integrated Model for Personal Assistant Research and Training), was partially funded in 2016 by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund with a goal of helping Michigan build and support a competent direct care workforce by establishing multiple components of workforce development in a more efficient, systematic, coordinated and cost-effective way. The training component was built on an evidence-based DCW training program titled “Building Training…Building Quality”, which has since been expanded to include multiple trainings through multiple teaching platforms.
In addition, a highly diverse statewide coalition of stakeholders and networks have been established that are determining and implementing feasible win-win strategies for ensuring access to a high-quality direct care workforce.