Someone asked me at a presentation recently, “I know our training requirements have doubled in the past year. What I don’t know is why.”
Some questions I get are pretty tough. This one wasn’t.
Regulations are increasing because consumers want more. They want the person providing care to their family member to have more training than hair dressers (1,500 hours for a barber; 1,600 hours for a cosmetologist in California). They want to know that the person coming into a loved one’s home has training in safety, infection prevention and control and promoting dignity, independence and quality of life.
Consumers have both a voice and a vote. Legislators listen. The results are rapidly increasing training requirements in nearly every state in the country.
You may have heard me say, “We’re only one congressman’s family member’s personal incident away from national licensure for caregivers.” I still believe that’s true, but in the meantime states have stepped up and are taking on training and certification issues.
Which doesn’t mean the feds aren’t looking at this issue too. The 2015 White House Conference on Aging’s final report notes that the coming workforce shortage of caregivers requires that attention be paid to this issue. Here are some of the responses to this need already happening on the Federal level:
$35 million allocated to training programs for health care professionals in the area of aging and geriatrics.
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) plans to develop a training curriculum for dementia care next year.
The HHS Office of Women’s Health is creating training modules on caregiver communication for professional and family caregivers.
Law Enforcement and Elder Abuse Prosecutors are getting more online training to increase their knowledge and skills in prevention and prosecution.
Bank of America is co-sponsoring training programs for HR and benefits employees to help them better understand the needs of the working family caregiver, as well as retirees.
One of the key themes for the Conference on Aging is to provide greater support for paid and family caregivers, including “work standards, training and compensation.” Notes the report, “While states determine direct care worker training requirements, there are efforts underway by the federal government to identify core competencies needed by direct care workers.”
Have no doubt: training regulations will continue to increase. There will be a national standard for caregiver certification or licensure, and states will continue to increase their own requirements as well.
As a provider, the best advice I can offer you is to partner up now with a training company that can keep you ahead of the regulatory onslaught and help you manage your training needs – with a keen eye to compliance today and preparation for the future.
To stay competitive, you want to be the one that is able to answer consumers #1 question: “How are your caregivers trained?” with a clear, concise answer that is far above your competition.