On, 25 January 2022, the Global Ageing Network hosted a timely webinar on “Filling the Caregiving Gap”, bringing perspectives from experts from the U.S., Canada, and Ireland. Over 70 participants from countries spanning the globe, joined in the discussion on policy and practice solutions.
Workforce is a global challenge, and the challenges are particularly acute among front line staff who provide 80 percent of the care. In addition to clinical care, front line staff provide physical, emotional, and cognitive support to older adults. Speakers noted that, based on demographics alone, we are facing a worldwide shortage of potential caregivers in the years ahead.
To address this growing challenge, we need to look at financing, service delivery and job quality. Kezia Scales, PhD, Director of Policy Research at PHI, suggested there are 5 key pillars of direct care job quality: Training, fair compensation, quality supervision and support, respect and recognition and real opportunity. Donna Duncan, Chief Executive Officer for OLTCA, noted designated family members are filling in to support staff in care homes in Ontario, Canada. Government interventions – such as supporting internationally credentialed nurses – are solely focused on the acute care sector. In home care in Ireland, the government has committed to paying for 24 million hours of home care in 2022, when what is needed to meet the need is 42 million hours. Across the board, there are more people leaving the sector than joining it, creating a true drain. As Joseph Musgrave, Chief Executive of HCCI in Ireland said, “it is a tired sector right now.”
It was universally agreed that we need a strategic focus on workforce that is not only country specific but global. We need to put some creative energy into creating a sense of urgency on the part of governments, making the economic argument for investing in this workforce that goes well beyond the humanitarian and compassionate argument. As Robyn Stone, Senior Vice President of Research at LeadingAge notes, every challenge is an opportunity to do things differently. This is our opportunity, and we must seize it with vigor.
With gratitude to our speakers Kezia Scales, Donna Duncan, and Joseph Musgraves, our moderator, Robyn Stone, and our sponsor, Aging in America. Please join us on 24 February 2022 for our next webinar.
Thank you to our sponsor