The Looming Crisis in California: A Shortage of Health Care Workers

One of the biggest problems facing older adults in the United States is the growing shortage of professional caregivers. San Diego is feeling the pressure along with other cities across the nation. The demand for caregivers is increasing as the Baby Boomers need more services. Something needs to be done to ensure that the support they need is available to them.

Why are We Experiencing a Shortage of Professional Caregivers?

According to the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI), the shortage is occurring due to an increase in demand from consumers, as well as turnover because of career changes or people leaving the workforce.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that 7.8 million direct care openings are projected from 2016 to 2026:

  • 4 million new jobs created due to growth in the industry
  • 6 million jobs that need to be filled due to employees leaving the labor force
  • 8 million jobs to fill due to employees making a career change to other industries

This $103 billion industry is facing a serious crisis as more people reach retirement age and require care in medical facilities and at home. The health care system is strained and working to keep seniors at home and out of the hospitals. Many of the people in need of care suffer from chronic health conditions and require ongoing assistance.

Finding a Solution

Recommendations have been released by the California Future Health Workforce Commission, to close this gap by 2030. Not only is it anticipated that we will have a shortage of professional in-home caregivers, but there will be additional need for nurse practitioners, primary care physicians, social workers, and physicians’ assistants.

On a positive note for workers, the increased demand for healthcare professionals with geriatric expertise means there is great career opportunity for people with the heart and skill set to work with older adults. Many people choose to have a lifelong career in professional caregiving, while others enter the workforce in this position, then use their valuable experience to move into nursing or other healthcare careers.

Home care agencies looking for qualified, desirable candidates are working harder than ever to attract and retain professional caregivers, competing with other care providers like residential care facilities, as well as employers in other service industries.

The shortage of professional caregivers is a serious issue, but there is hope on the horizon.

Kimberly Torrence, Director of Operations
Kimberly Torrence, Director of Operations

What is Windward Life Care doing to recruit and retain the best professional caregivers? We actively track local, state and national trends affecting recruiting and retention.  We have adjusted to labor force challenges without sacrificing our Home Care Aide skills and experience requirements. Retention of quality employees is one of our highest priorities because it benefits our clients, our company and the community we serve.  Our comprehensive orientation, ongoing training, and professional support from Aging Life Care Managers help our Home Care Aides to thrive in their role at Windward. This training and support, in addition to our competitive pay and outstanding benefits package, enables us to retain experienced caregivers. Understanding our employees’ needs and working with them to create the schedule they desire makes Windward a partner in their career and life satisfaction.  A strong indicator of our success in this area is the fact that our caregiver turnover rate is 28% less than the national average. We are proud to be the employer of choice for experienced and professional Home Care Aides in San Diego County. Contact us if you want to see how our Home Care Aides can enhance your life!

– Kimberly Torrence, Director of Operations