The new Home Care Workforce Action Alliance aims to tackle the dire caregiver shortage from various angles, said Dave Totaro, chief government affairs officer with home care provider Bayada. He spoke to McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse in a podcast this week.

“We’re sure that there isn’t one answer,” he said. “It’s not compensation and it’s not benefits and it’s not just training. It’s a multidimensional challenge, and that’s why we brought this group together, the Home Care Workforce Action Alliance, to focus on all these dimensions. We’re looking for an integrated focus on compensation, benefits, training, career growth, family and caregiver support functions, and improving the public recognition for the worth of home care and the value of home care providers.”

The culture of an organization, he said, is more important than ever.

“We’re seeing that culture is much more important today than it’s ever been in the past, particularly in terms of retaining an employee,” he said. “It’s so expensive to recruit; it’s so expensive to replace, and so focusing on things as simple as reward and particularly recognition of outstanding work has seemed to be the keystone to keeping employees employed.”

Bayada, along with the National Association for Home Care & Hospice and Home Care Association of America, unveiled the new alliance in May. The organization currently is reaching out to other associations that have worker shortages to collaborate on solving the problem, Totaro said. The stakeholders will convene in Washington, D.C., this August and break out into various work groups. The groups then will meet during the latter part of the third and the fourth quarter and report on policy recommendations by end of year. Next year, the alliance aims to work to convert the recommendations into action on Capitol Hill, Totaro said.

While other post-acute care segments also looking for workers, Bayada does not see a tension among the sectors.

“Eventually we’re going to have to fill the pipeline,” he said. “We believe that working on educational improvement, grants to schools to provide more teachers so we can train more nurses and aides, provide them with opportunity for career growth. This will eventually benefit everyone.”

Editor’s note: In terms of labor problems, there has never been a time like today. In this ongoing series, McKnight’s Home Care will explore the various facets of the workforce shortage, how home care is responding to it and the innovation that is propelling the field forward with new and sometimes unconventional solutions. Read a new installment each month until the end of the year.

Learn more: The McKnight’s online Workforce Development Forum is happening today. Sign up for free!