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J Am Geriatr Soc ; 70(2): 512-521, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1480180


BACKGROUND: To describe the growth and characteristics of the direct care health workforce, encompassing home health aides, personal care aides, nursing assistants, and orderlies and psychiatric aides from 2010 to 2019 in the United States. METHODS: Using nationally representative data from the 2010 to 2019 American Community Survey, we described the growth in the direct care health workforce overall and by type of direct care health worker. In addition, we examined the distribution of direct care workers by geographic region of the country, age categories, citizenship, world area of birth, income, health insurance status, and other characteristics. RESULTS: From 2010 to 2019, the number of direct care health workers in the United States per 10,000 individuals decreased slightly from 135.81 in 2010 to 133.78 in 2019. Personal care aides made up 42.1% of the direct care health workforce in 2019, followed by nursing assistants (39.5%) and home health aides (16.3%). In 2019, the number of direct care health workers who were not U.S. citizens accounted for roughly 10% of all workers in each year. The relative percentage of direct care health workers that were not a citizen of the United States was highest among home health aides (16.3%). Among workers born outside of the United States, the majority were from Latin America, followed by Asia. CONCLUSION: From 2010 to 2019, there was little growth in the direct care health workforce despite growing demand for direct care health workers. In the midst of the current and projected shortage of direct care health workers-particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, longer-term solutions to improve retention of direct care health workers and increase the supply of direct care health workers may be needed.

COVID-19 , Health Workforce , Adult , Female , Health Workforce/statistics & numerical data , Health Workforce/trends , Home Health Aides/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Long-Term Care , Male , Nursing Assistants/statistics & numerical data , Psychiatric Aides/statistics & numerical data , Socioeconomic Factors , Surveys and Questionnaires , United States