There are substantial gaps in both geriatric and long-term care content in health professional education programs, and nearly no formal training programs for most home care workers. In this project, we explore differences in training requirements for Personal Care Aides (PCA), who provide assistance to older adults and people with disabilities in their homes and in long-term care facilities. Although there are nearly one million people working in this field, there is little consistency in the training requirements across the 50 states. Our study provides valuable information about regulations, as well as an assessment of the rationale underlying specific training requirements.
- What are the demographics, tasks and drivers of demand for and supply of the PCA workforce?
- What do states require (or not) in their existing training requirements?
- What constitutes a rational conceptual framework with which to evaluate the rigor and uniformity of PCA training standards, as states look ahead to training reform?
The workers who provide the most care at home for older Americans and persons with disabilities, personal care aides (PCAs), are governed by few federal or state requirements for their training. In a pair of reports analyzing the national landscape of training requirements across state Medicaid-funded programs for PCAs, we have found wide variation in minimum training requirements across states and between programs within states. Most states’ PCA training programs are relatively undeveloped compared with standards for certified home health aides and nursing assistants.
Authors Abby Marquand, MPH, Director of Policy Research, PHI and Susan A. Chapman, PhD, RN, FAAN, Co-Director, UCSF Health Workforce Research Center on Long-Term Care present our findings in “The National Landscape of Personal Care Aide Training Standards.” In a companion research brief, “Leader States in Personal Care Aide Training Standards,” the authors describe seven “leader” states that have achieved both consistency and rigor in the training of these workers that enable older adults and individuals with disabilities to reside safely in their homes and participate in their communities.