Message from ANCOR:
New research finds COVID-19 pandemic further decimating a direct care workforce in crisis.
Like you, we have long understood that the direct support workforce crisis our community has grappled with for years can be traced directly to long-standing underinvestment in community-based I/DD services. We have also long suspected—though couldn’t say for certain—that the onset of new pressures and hazards wrought by the pandemic has significantly exacerbated challenges related to recruitment and retention.
Unfortunately, we now have stark evidence to confirm what we believed was true: the direct support workforce crisis has been made much, much worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is a key takeaway from ANCOR’s newest research, which we published this morning.
The State of America’s Direct Support Workforce Crisis 2021 summarizes the findings of ANCOR’s survey of providers, which we fielded for a five-week period beginning in August 2021. The survey, which followed up on our 2020 research, garnered 449 responses and sought to understand the human and financial impact of the direct support workforce crisis. The survey measured the same dimensions we asked about in 2020, along with additional measures targeted specifically to the impact of COVID-19 on DSP hiring and retention.
Key findings from ANCOR’s 2021 State of America’s Direct Support Workforce Crisis survey include that:
- 77% of providers are turning away new referrals, a 16.7% increase since the beginning of the pandemic.
- 58% of providers are discontinuing programs and services, a 70.6% increase since the beginning of the pandemic.
- 81% of providers are struggling to achieve quality standards, a 17.4% increase since the beginning of the pandemic.
- Nearly 3 in 10 providers report spending at least $500,000 annually on costs associated with high turnover and vacancy rates.
- 92% of providers report that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to complicate their ability to recruit and retain qualified direct support professionals.
To say the least, these results are troubling. But for those of us committed to moving beyond the direct care workforce crisis once and for all, it is imperative that we understand the true impacts of the crisis and the ways in which it is colliding with the COVID-19 pandemic. For these reasons, we invite you to download The State of America’s Direct Support Workforce Crisis 2021 and read lead author Lydia Dawson’s analysis today.