As America ages, with the baby boomer generation retiring, it has meant increasing demand for home care support services. While a large percentage of the home care aides working for agencies do receive some level of training, the requirements to step into this work will vary from one state to the next.
In Illinois, for example, caregivers are required to receive eight hours of training per year for nonmedical support. That is only applicable to those caregivers who work for agencies. Some are questioning, though, whether that is enough.
There have been numerous reports and complaints from clients and their families about inappropriate behavior or inadequate care and support among some home care aides, especially those looking after elderly and disabled adults who have been diagnosed with some form of dementia, which includes Alzheimer’s.
As reported in the Chicago Tribune news blog, Some Illinois home health care workers get just eight hours of training. Is that enough? Written by Lisa Schencker:
“But questions remain about exactly how much training is enough.
“It’s more highly skilled work than it ever was and yet the training requirements don’t really reflect what home care workers are being expected to do,” said Kezia Scales, director of policy and research at PHI, a research and consulting organization that advocates for the nation’s direct care workforce.
By any measure, home health care is a booming industry that includes a range of workers, such as nurses, certified nursing assistants, aides who provide small amounts of medical care and workers who help with daily tasks of living.
In Illinois, the number of home care workers – those providing only minimal medical care or no medical care at home — more than doubled, from 37,420 in 2005 to 81,160 in 2015, according to PHI.”
There are many things to understand about Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia that can have a direct impact on comfort and quality of life for aging men and women. The question that is rising to the surface in some of these states is how much is enough training for home care aides to work with seniors diagnosed with some form of dementia?
As remains the case in many professions, the more training and direct support workers receive, they generally end up providing higher quality results. However, as lawmakers continue to seek out ways to save money and reduce spending, Medicaid reimbursement for home care is continually viewed as a possible means of saving.
As Medicaid reimbursements are down, that places increased pressure on agencies to make ends meet and survive fiscally. Increasing the number of training hours can directly impact an agency’s ability to maintain staff and provide the needed hours of support to its clients in the community.