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OECD report : “Who cares? Attracting an retaining care workers for the elderly"

July 1, 2020

OECD report : “Who cares? Attracting an retaining care workers for the elderly"

On 22nd June, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published a report presenting a cross-country assessment of long-term care (LTC) workers. Even if it considers a larger geographical zone than the EU, this report is full of assessments and good practices that can be taken into consideration in all the social services in the EU.

The report has been released at the same time the Social Employers adopted together with EPSU, a joint position paper drawing attention on these issues and proposing some concrete actions to improve recruitment and retention in European social services.

The COVID-19 pandemic increased the pressure in the long-term care (LTC) sector that has already to face the high health risk factors and population aging that will increase the demand for services and workers. This crisis is also putting the focus on the pre-existing structural problems in the long-term care (LTC) sector as staff shortage, poor working conditions and difficulties in recruiting and retaining.

The report highlights the importance of improving working conditions in the sector and making care work more attractive. Moreover, it draws attention to the importance of effective policy package to increase the attractiveness of the sector and to improve the productivity of LTC workers through better use of technology.

The report focuses on five main points, illustrated by many good practices:

  • Addressing the shortfall in workers: analysis of the trends in the LTC workforce and the demographic characteristics, and outlines recruitment policies to attract LTC workers in OECD countries. Example of good practices: “proud to care” and “care ambassadors” initiatives or recruiting outside the traditional pool targeting men or people looking for a career change.
  • Tasks, qualifications and training of long-term care workers: reducing the skills gap: Overview of the tasks and functions of LTC workers in comparison with the training and education requirements. This will serve to assess skills gaps. Example of good practice: internship and mentorship opportunities.
  • Addressing retention by creating better-quality jobs in long-term care: analysis of the working conditions for LTC workers, providing policy recommendations on wages, social dialogue, occupation health and improving workers’ autonomy. Example of good practice : more autonomy and decision capacity given to nurses.
  • Improving care pathway for elderly people: recent policy developments to improve co-ordination between the LTC and health care sectors, and their effect on the LTC workforce, in terms of their skills and care models. Example of good practice : strengthening of integration between health and social care services.
  • Shortfall innovation: how technology, skill mix and self-care can change long-term care: innovative solutions to help LTC workers achieve more by increasing their productivity and increasing prevention effort to delay a worsening of LTC needs. Example of good practice : teleprocessing tool to allow nurses to communicate in real time, to coordinate working schedules and share medical data in a secure way.

Access to the full report here.

Access to the EU Commission report "Demographic change in Europe" here.

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