Objective: Allied and auxiliary health care workers comprise over 60 percent of the nationís health care workforce and provide the most direct patient care in hospitals, nursing homes and the home. Our goal was to provide a comprehensive assessment of the supply, distribution, training and challenges faced by these workers. Design: Over 200 different occupations are defined as allied health workers. We focused on a few sentinel occupations that represented differing educational paths, skill sets and potential for career mobility. Data collection included a literature review, secondary demographic data, qualitative surveys, key informant interviews and focus groups. Findings: Shortages are predicted for home health aides, certified nursing assistants and numerous other categories of workers although reliable data is lacking. Several themes emerged in the findings: Students are often ill prepared for college or technical training while employers noted skill deficiencies in computer, leadership and critical thinking. Entry level wages are not competitive with those found in other sectors and the turnover rates range upwards of 90% in some settings. Injury rates for the lower skilled workers are among the highest of any occupation due to lack of training and inadequate resources. Conclusions: Allied and auxiliary health workers are overlooked at a time when they are vital for the future ability of this country to deliver care to an aging population. Recruitment, training, retention and career mobility needs to be addressed. Systematic and centralized data is needed on the future number and types of workers required in all health care settings.
Learning Objectives: Participants will be recognize the categories of allied and auxiliary health care workers and understand their importance to the future health care workforce. Participants will identify the future challenges facing this segment of the workforce
Keywords: Workforce, Health Workers Training
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: none
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA