The Iowa Caregivers Association has received a one-point-four million dollar grant to help recruit and retain those who directly care for patients and residents in nursing homes, hospitals and other care facilities. Iowa Caregivers Association director Di Findley says the need for such “direct care” workers in long-term care facilities will increase by at least 200 percent in the next 50 years.Findley says Iowa will surely rank as one of the states with the greatest need in the future because of the state has a huge population of folks who’re over the age of 65. There are 20-thousand certified nurses assistants in Iowa. Most work in nursing homes. Another 20-thousand Iowans are considered “direct care” workers in nursing homes, hospitals, assisted living centers and other health care facilities. Findley says there’s a shortage of people to meet the demand for caregivers, and she says that will only grow worse as Baby Boomers age. She says there’s a need to stabilize the existing workforce, which tends to turn-over a lot. Findley says her group will work with state officials and other interested parties to come up with ways to change the system and improve wages, benefits workplace environment and professional advancement opportunities for Iowa caregivers. Findley says comsumers are promised a continum of care, from assisted living to nursing homes to end-of-life hospice care, but there aren’t enough workers to deliver all those levels of care. The Iowa Caregivers Association has used about 26-thousand dollars of the grant money to hire a project manager, and they plan a feasibility study as well as a plan for a centralized state registry for all paid caregivers.
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