Getting real about retention
This is the fourth in a series of PHI Expert Interviews, which bring you insights from four senior PHI staff. They’re an impressive group — among the nation’s leading experts on long-term care’s direct-care workforce — and collectively they’ve spent decades studying the challenges facing the workforce and how to address them. We think you’ll be interested in what they’ve learned.
When Steven Dawson came out of the workforce development field in 1992 to join Peggy Powell in heading up the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute, PHI’s sole purpose was to raise funds and provide technical support for Cooperative Home Care Associates. Over time, Steven led PHI into the broader long-term care arena, where its policy and practice experts work with employers and lawmakers to support and stabilize the nation’s direct-care workforce.
Steven has written about the impending direct-care workforce crisis (pdf) and the link between quality jobs for direct-care workers and quality care for long-term care consumers. Through the years, his emphasis has been on creating workplaces that are intentionally re-designed to retain direct-care staff.
“A constantly churning workforce is the enemy of quality care — ask anyone whose mother has had to deal with five different home health aides within a month, or with a blur of CNAs in the nursing home. The industry still manages to attract hundreds of thousands of skilled, caring workers every year, but once hired, these frontline staff are too often treated as if they were invisible. So, of course they leave,” he says.
Norman DeLisle, MDRC
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