By 2050, the United States will need three times the current number
of long-term health care workers, according to a new report from the Department
of Labor (DOL) and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
As baby boomers retire, grow old, and become ill, the shortage will
become increasingly acute. In 2050, about 6 million nurses, nurse aids, and
home health care specialists will be needed, compared with 1.9 million in
The report calls the need to retain current workers and attract new
workers "critical," and proposes a variety of state and local initiatives
that increase the recruitment and retention of direct care workers. It also
urges continued support for existing federal programs, such as DOL's National
Emphasis Program and DHHS's Nursing Workforce Diversity Program. The report
is available online at http://aspe.hhs.gov/daltcp/reports/ltcwork.htm.
Vastag B. Hair Trigger?. JAMA. 2003;289(23):3080. doi:10.1001/jama.289.23.3080-a