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New Coalition, the Eldercare Workforce Alliance, to Address the Critical Shortage of Healthcare Workers Capable of Meeting the Unique Care Needs of Older Adults
Date:2/5/2009

-- Alliance Appoints Alice H. Hedt As Project Director --

WASHINGTON, Feb. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Eldercare Workforce Alliance (EWA) -- a new coalition of 25 leading organizations representing older adults and the eldercare workforce, including family caregivers, healthcare professionals, and direct-care workers -- is holding its founding meeting this week in Washington, D.C. This wide array of national organizations has joined together to address the critical shortage of health care providers and caregivers who are adequately prepared to meet the unique care needs of older adults. To accomplish this, the Alliance supports programs to increase workforce capacity, strengthen workers' competencies, and improve coordination of care.

The Alliance was formed in direct response to a groundbreaking report released in the spring of 2008 by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), which concluded that America's eldercare workforce is dangerously understaffed and unprepared to care for the rapidly growing number of older adults in the U.S.

The IOM report, Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Workforce, explained that by 2030, the number of Americans 65 or older will nearly double to 77 million, and roughly 20 percent of these adults will have five or more chronic health problems. At the same time, there are serious anticipated shortfalls across the eldercare workforce of professionals and direct care workers.

"Eldercare is projected to be the fastest-growing employment sector in the healthcare industry, and strengthening these caregiving fields is essential to quality of care for older adults in America and may also drive long-term employment and economic growth," said Alice H. Hedt, who was named EWA Project Director during the Alliance's D.C. meeting.


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SOURCE American Geriatrics Society
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