Family members fill gap in nursing shortage
The current national nursing shortage is a workforce challenge that is unfortunately growing worse each year due to retirements and burnout. Innovators looking for solutions might want to consider the results of a recent study published in the Journal of Pediatrics. (Pediatrics Week. 2023, Mar 16; 52)
The Medicaid program in Colorado that sponsored the program offered family members certified nursing assistant (CNA) training and paid them for at-home medical care for their own children with complex medical needs.
Researchers found it was a feasible solution, that had lower hourly home care costs and lower “employee” turnover compared to non-family CNA caregivers.
Certified nursing assistants, or CNAs, help patients with daily activities and other healthcare needs, usually under the direct supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN) or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). But with today’s nursing shortage, there simply aren’t enough to go around.
Further, the study found that “there was no statistical difference overall in LOS (level of service) or average total hospital days during enrollment.”
They also observed less employee turnover, “which likely occurred because family members are less inclined to leave their position due to their committed relationship to the patient.” And less turnover lowered both re-training and onboarding costs for the provider organization.
One of the most interesting outcomes of the study was a larger-scope recommendation that, based on the results, other states should consider introducing and adopting policies to allow for the same sort of parental CNA training or other relevant credential, and that they be paid for caring for their own children in this limited role.
Considering this recommendation, Mari Savickis, CHIME’s Vice President of Public Policy, reflected: “In an era depleted by the pandemic where workforce shortages are the norm rather than the exception, we must look for efficiencies in the healthcare system and look for practical solutions.”
The journal article concludes, “While not all families may choose this option, policy approaches that provide more choice to families on how their child’s care is structured may find appeal across key stakeholder groups.”
Building on extensive experience in the fields of journalism, media production, and learning design and development, John Marc Green’s newest adventure is serving as Director of CHIME Innovation. In this role, his ongoing conversations with CHIME Members and Partners provide insights and direction to serve their interests in a variety of ways, including digital healthcare innovation journalism, professional development events and program facilitation, and on-demand educational development through CHIME Innovation.