Self-Directed Personal Assistant Services

Growing demand for long-term care services, the need for new care models, rising costs, and the current and projected shortage of workers creates an urgent need for more research and policy development. The University of California San Francisco is utilizing their health profession schools and researchers to gather input from community advocacy groups and the in home care assistant workers themselves. They will look at impacts of employment and training policies and inform federal and state agencies, as well as Congress, to develop new workforce policy.

They are concerned with the essential question: Is our health care workforce prepared to meet the growing long-term care needs of an aging U.S. population? 

With the coming “Silver Tsunami” as Baby Boomers enter their mid-60’s, a rapidly increasing proportion of older Americans, and people with disabilities will require care both in the home and in the community. By examining the health care workforce, they plan to shape policies to improve access, increase quality, and gain more high-value care. 

They are gathering personal assistant stories in Alaska, Arizona, and Montana to identify the supports these PAS workers need in underserved rural communities. They are asking PAS workers to take pictures of their daily work experiences. And a picture is worth a thousand words! But they want the words too. 

These workers can take photographs documenting their experience in their work. Later, they meet with the team of researchers to discuss the photos and document their perspectives. In addition they get compensated for their time (4 hours) with $50. All participants will have the opportunity to review and approve the information before it is shared as part of the final project.

Rural communities often lack other services or resources to support independent living. CIL’s are well positioned to take a lead role in helping these rural stakeholders work towards positive change, fill service gaps, and coordinate efforts for change. We certainly hope the word gets back to the state and federal level that these workers provide a valuable service that allows people to stay in their own homes. And that these workers need to be compensated as such. Increase the amount paid by Medicaid across the board!