Leveraging the Experiences of Informal Caregivers to Create Future Healthcare Workforce Options
Publish Year: 2016
The objective of this study was gather pilot data from informal caregivers regarding the potential for a training program to assist current or past caregivers in reentering the job market, and thus offering a pathway to economic resilience. In an effort that could foster a sustainable and competent caregiving market to help meet the needs of an aging America, whether training informal caregivers might help them transition into a paid caregiving or other health service role was explored. Caregivers (N = 55) of a chronically or terminally ill family member or friend in a suburban county near Chicago were interviewed. The interview guide addressed household economic effect of illness, emotional burden, and training program interest. Fifty-six percent of caregivers were interested in training to work outside the home, caring for people in other households, 84% indicated a desire to learn more about health care, and 68% reported a desire to explore job possibilities in health care. Eighty-two percent were experienced in working with an individual aged 50 and older. Informal caregivers’ interest in a training program to bolster their qualifications for a role in the healthcare workforce, including the option of a formal caregiver position, supports the demand for such a program. Considering the need for healthcare workers to serve the growing elderly population and the desire of informal caregivers to find gainful employment, these informal caregivers could provide the impetus to invest in informal caregiver training.