Direct Care Workforce Empowerment Act to encourage professional caregivers


August 12, 2010

Pennsylvania has the third oldest population in the country and, in addition, almost half of the local physicians will be retiring with in the next decade, leaving 1,500 healthcare positions completely empty, according to The Times Leader.

Democratic Senator Robert Casey stated that the region’s biggest priority should be creating a stable workforce that will be able to help seniors age in their homes and meet their medical needs.

A recent hearing featured a presentation presented by the senator that highlighted these issues. Casey is a member of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging and used the conference as an opportunity to push for new legislation.

The bill, named the Direct Care Workforce Empowerment Act, would ensure that all home care workers are compensated by the federal minimum wage and protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act. It would also establish a grant program across the country that would help states recruit, retain and train professional caregivers.

A lack of home healthcare can mean that senior citizens can be unattended for long periods of time. It’s important for all older adults to have a way to alert doctors or loved ones if there is an emergency, so families may want to consider putting a senior alert system in place as a solution.