The Iowa Department of Public Health is moving ahead to implement recommendations from a task force that experts say will be a big improvement for direct care workers in the state. Di Findley is the executive director of the Iowa Caregivers Association.
Findley says they are going to have some standardized training and education requirements for direct care workers across the entire spectrum. She says right now, the requirements only apply to certified nurse aides who work in nursing home. Findley says the new training will provide a lot of benefits. She says it will allow the care workers to transition between different levels of care and everyone will be better informed about who the workers are, and their scope of work.
Findley says this has been in the works for 10 to 12 years, and things are now moving forward with the task force recommendations. Findley says the legislature and governor approved 75-thousand dollars in the last session for the Department of Public Health to move the recommendations forward. "So, we’ve already made some giant strides in moving these issues forward. So often these reports end up on a shelf, collecting dust, and we know this one is not going to do that,"Findley says.
Findley says the benefits of the changes go beyond the care workers. "I think it’s going to impact all of us," Findley says, "we know that families and consumers are under the assumption that the state already certifies all these direct care workers, and they don’t." Findley says there are thousands of direct care workers in Iowa, but the exact number isn’t known because there’s no tracking system. She says they know from studies that one of the reason that 73-percent of the direct care workers leave the field every year is that they don’t feel "adequately prepared, educated and trained to do what’s being expected of them."
Findley says the registry will hopefully can give a clearer picture of how many workers there are, what type of training they have, and how many transition on to getting a license. Findley says you can find out more information you can contact your local community college or health care provide. Or she says you can contact the Iowa Caregivers Association at 515-241-8697, or visit their website . Findley says copies of the task force report are available on the website.