More Must-Know Information from 2013 Report on Alzheimer's

On Monday, we outlined some key points taken from the 2013 World Alzheimer Report. Two of those emphasized the importance of placing higher value on the caregiver.

As a refresher, here those key points:

  • Caregivers should be valued more i.e., governments should offer payments directly to family caregivers. Likewise, caregiving professionals should be paid more.
  • To reduce stress and ensure better care, family caregivers should receive more education, training, support, and respite.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the single most important determinant of quality dementia care across all care settings is direct care staff. Yet, as their 2013 report notes, caregivers have come across quite a few obstacles preventing them from improving and maintaining quality care.

Because of the significant role that caregivers play in determining quality dementia care, we thought that we would tell you some of the facts behind those key points, in order to provide some context behind those recommendations.

Here are some more facts taken from the 2013 report:

Lack of proper training:

  • Currently, the federal minimum for training nursing aides is at 75 hours. That requirement has not changed since it was mandated in 1987, despite the growing complexities in care giving. Although, the report does note that many states have higher numbers of required hours.
  • While 73% of social workers have clients age 55 and older and around 8% of social workers are directly employed in long-term care settings, only 4% percent have formal certification in geriatric social work.
  • While 77% of those surveyed received training with refreshers and 38% had a National Vocational Qualification in dementia care, more than a fifth felt that they needed a lot more training.

Lack of adequate wages:

According to the report, the median hourly wages for caregivers were as follows:

  • $11.06 for hospital aides
  • $9.13 for nursing home aides
  • $8.50 for home health aides.
  • 22% of direct care workers relied on public health insurance, lacking private sector or employer insurance.

Lack of adequate wages for caregivers can result in workers taking on multiple jobs in order to provide a sufficient living wage. In turn, this leaves caregivers with less time to commit to elder care.

High turnover rates:

  • According to the report, the most direct consequence of the low profile, status and valuation of direct care work is a high turnover of staff.
  • In a 2002 national survey, 37 of 43 states reported serious shortages of direct care workers, and studies of turnover report annual rates ranging from 25% to well over 100%.
  • In turn, an analysis taken from 87 studies between 1975-2003 showed that there was a relationship between high staff turnover and an increase in health problems among residents such as a lower functional ability, a higher incidence of pressure ulcers, and greater weight loss.

Placing higher value on the caregiver is extremely important when it comes to ensuring better care for people with dementia.

Coupled with the looming shortage of caregivers–something we’ve mentioned in previous posts (see here and here)–it’s essential that we try to retain the caregivers we have.

Do you think that we’re all taking the right steps towards valuing our caregivers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter.

Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living–currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa–provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here. Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!

Photo credit: Alzheimer’s Disease International

“Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living solves the challenges families face in caring for aging parents, with a focus on strategies that keep them in their homes. To learn more about our solutions, visit http://www.private-duty.pchhc.com.”