Those struggling with intellectual disabilities who can’t live independently rely on loved ones or paraprofessionals to provide care. In either scenario, lack of consistency and low wages present obstacles to quality care. President Biden’s infrastructure plan includes a $400 billion provision in Medicaid to support caregiver pay raises to address this issue. In this post, Direct Care Innovations reviews the issue and how the plan tackles it.
High Demand, Low Supply of Caregivers
In 2019, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported that the average length of wait time for a caregiver was 30 months. Not only can it take quite some time to find a caregiver, but they also don’t stay long. Some experts estimate the average length of time in a caregiver role at 12 months. For this reason, disruptions in care frequently occur. With an aging population and increased demand, the presents a significant challenge.
Many people with developmental disabilities can live on their own with assistance. It doesn’t make sense to institutionalize those who don’t need it and prefer to live at home. Quality of life includes some sense of self-agency and meaning that go along with independent living. At the same time, support in in-home health services allows independent living to occur. Medicaid’s home- and community-based program services subsidize the efforts. However, funding is contingent on contributions at both the state and federal levels.
High Turnover, Low Wage for Caregivers
The average wage of caregivers is around $12 per hour. For this wage, caregivers assist with daily living, such as medication, bathing, and meals. Additionally, they provide connection, kindness, and compassion. Many caregivers and receivers view the role as encompassing both services and relationships. Consequently, the low wage and high responsibility result in high turnover. Thus, clients must deal with a revolving door of strangers in and out of their homes and lives.
High Investment, Low Understanding of Future Funding
The $400 billion infusion into community-based services presents an unprecedented opportunity for caregivers. Not only could the workforce shortage rebound, but also, loved ones may benefit from the care they provide. Family members often provide care to the people they love who struggle with intellectual disabilities. To that end, they can apply for caregiver compensation. This benefit means that the gap between supply and demand shrinks, but the question is how long the funding will last. We have no way of knowing whether more funds will subsidize caregiver efforts in the future. That being said, many experts and advocates acknowledge the increasing need and continue to push for long-term funding.
Support Your Caregivers
At DCI, we believe everyone should have access to quality care. We support agencies in all 50 states that provide caregiver support through technology solutions that allow them to achieve EVV compliance, track scheduling and attendance, and more. As such, we promise to deliver quality products and services that support your efforts to serve those living with intellectual disabilities. Find out how we can support your specific managed care group or organization when you call (480) 295-3307. Or, you can check out our platform and request a demo.