CHCS January 26, 2022
Diana Crumley and Courtney Roman

Across the U.S., direct care workers (DCWs) are responsible for most of the hands-on care for older adults and people with disabilities. They provide essential day-to-day care for people who may not have family or informal caregivers. DCWs may be employed in home-based settings, adult day centers, and long-term care facilities, among others, and perform tasks such as bathing, dressing, housekeeping, meal preparation, medication management, and more intensive medical care and assistance.

For years, states have been grappling with how to meaningfully support DCWs — many of whom are women, people of color, and living at or near the poverty level. The COVID-19 pandemic heightened the urgency to attract new workers to the field and strengthen the direct care workforce, especially as more older adults...

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