Kudos to the National Association for Home Care & Hospice and Home Care Association of America. Less than a year after convening their Home Care Workforce Action Alliance to get to the bottom of the labor shortage, the nation’s two major home care organizations this week released a report  offering numerous and practical recommendations to improve the workforce situation for home care providers.

The solutions range from making the onboarding process easier for direct care workers and providing direct care workers with benefits (including affordable health insurance, earned leave and retirement) to advocating on the state level to supporting pilot loan forgiveness programs for nurses and passing legislation that gives nurses a pathway toward permanently remaining in the United States.

Interestingly enough, the organizations opted to divide the report into two distinct sections — one on the direct care workforce, who the report defines as  those who provide daily assistant to older adults and people with disabilities with activities of daily living — and one on nurses, who, for the purposes of the report, comprise licensed practical nurses, licensed vocational nurses and registered nurses.

Devoting distinct sections to the two makes sense as both are seriously in demand. In their introductory letter, NAHC CEO Bill Dombi and HCAOA CEO Vicki Hoak cite the think tank PHI, which found that while the direct care workforce doubled from just over 1 million workers in 2010 to more than 2.4 million in 2020, the home care nursing workforce has shrunk since 2020.

From relaxing rigid immigration rules for direct care workers to coming up with new ways to include home-based clinical rotations early in nursing school curricula, the report offers a host of thoughtful and innovative ways to improve the challenging workforce landscape.

The timing of the report could not have been better, given  the groups’ national lobbying days this week. Lawmakers now have considerable ammunition as they consider corrective legislation. Let’s just hope lawmakers act sooner, rather than later.

Liza Berger is editor of McKnight’s Home Care. Email her at [email protected].