A new report has revealed that Idaho’s dearth of direct care personnel is even more severe than the national average.
The analysis, conducted by a research team at the University of Idaho College of Public Health, concluded that Idaho has a markedly lower ratio of direct care workers to those in need of their services than the rest of the country. This deficiency is especially acute in rural areas, where the population is aging more rapidly than in urban centers.
The study found that Idaho’s direct care worker-to-client ratio is 2.5 to 1, compared to the national average of 2.8 to 1. This ratio has been on the decline in Idaho since 2013, with the state’s elderly population increasing by 5.5 percent in that time frame.
The report noted that the lack of direct care personnel has had a profound impact on the quality of life of those in need. For instance, Idahoans requiring such services have experienced difficulty accessing medical care and other vital services due to the dearth of workers.
The researchers suggested that the state should implement a variety of strategies to attract more direct care workers. These include increasing wages, providing better training and support, and promoting greater flexibility in working hours.
The report also suggested that more public funding for direct care programs be made available and that efforts be made to reduce the stigma associated with working in the field.
In sum, the University of Idaho College of Public Health report confirmed that Idaho’s shortage of direct care personnel is greater than the national average. It is critical that the state take steps to address this issue so that those in need of care can access it.