June 26, 2024 

PHI and National Alliance for Caregiving Unveil Roadmap to Empower Direct Care Workers and Family Caregivers

A new report provides recommendations to strengthen the partnership between those who provide essential care and support for millions of Americans.

New York, NY – As the U.S. population ages and the demand for long-term care continues to rise, the vital partnership between direct care workers and family caregivers has never been more important. Today, PHI, the nation’s leading authority on the direct care workforce, and the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC), the leading nonprofit coalition driving system change for family caregivers, released a first-of-its-kind issue brief entitled Together in Care: Empowering Direct Care Workers and Family Caregivers to Meet Growing Demand for Care.

Developed through the Together in Care® initiative and made possible by generous support from The John A. Hartford Foundation, the report provides actionable recommendations for policymakers, employer providers, and other stakeholders to strengthen the partnership between direct care workers and family caregivers and expand access to high-quality, person-and-family-centered care.

“Together, direct care workers and family caregivers provide a vital lifeline to millions of older adults and people with disabilities,” said Jodi M. Sturgeon, president and CEO of PHI. “However, these essential caregivers have been historically undervalued and under-supported. PHI and NAC are committed to empowering direct care workers and family caregivers, in order to meet the needs and preferences of millions of Americans, now and in the future.”

Key recommendations outlined in the report include:

  • Promoting the integration of direct care workers and family caregivers into interdisciplinary care teams to better meet the needs and preferences of consumers;
  • Expanding access to self-directed care programs to support family caregivers and grow the pipeline of direct care workers;
  • Leveraging matching service registries to facilitate connections between consumers, families, and direct care workers; and
  • Investing in research and evaluation to build the evidence base for policy and practice interventions to support partnership between direct care workers and family caregivers.

“Family caregivers and direct care workers are the backbone of our care system, yet their essential roles have often been disconnected and underinvested in,” said Jason Resendez, president and CEO of NAC. “This policy brief outlines steps to bridge the gap between these vital roles, elevate their status, and create a unified system that delivers comprehensive, high-quality care for everyone who needs it.”

The issue brief incorporates insights gathered from direct care workers, family caregivers, and subject matter experts through individual interviews, a national convening, and a comprehensive literature review. It places particular emphasis on improving direct care job quality as a key prerequisite for strengthening the direct care worker and family caregiver partnership.

The report highlights the story of Karee and Jim White, parents of Kimmy Fix, a U.S. Army veteran who suffered a severe traumatic brain injury. With support from the VA’s Veteran-Directed Care Program, a self-directed care program, the Whites have been able to hire direct care workers to provide vital care for Kimmy at home.

“Direct care workers are essential to honoring Kimmy’s care needs and preferences,” said Jim White. “As a nation, it’s a demographic reality that we need a lot of caregivers. If you don’t want to pay them an extra $5 an hour, you’re missing the forest for the trees.”

Fostering Bipartisan Dialogue on the Need for Care Infrastructure

The recommendations in PHI and NAC’s issue brief are intended as non-partisan. At a time of significant political division in the United States, the need for access to high-quality, person-and-family-centered care should be a unifying issue that generates bipartisan agreement, drawing from the commonality of our collective experience.

Policies and priorities to better support direct care workers and family caregivers, which were advanced in previous administrations, have gained critical momentum in the Biden Administration.

However, much work remains. As our nation moves towards a crucial set of elections this fall, bipartisan dialogue building care infrastructure can lead to changes that benefit millions of individuals and families, serving as both a profound source of hope and a demonstration of American values.

In the months ahead, the Together in Care initiative will continue to elevate dialogue and drive change around the critical relationship between direct care workers and family caregivers through webinars, conference presentations, and additional resources. The full report and an executive summary are available at;

About PHI

PHI is a national organization committed to strengthening the direct care workforce by producing robust research and analysis, leading federal and state advocacy initiatives, and designing groundbreaking workforce interventions and models. For more than 30 years, we have brought a 360-degree perspective on the long-term care sector to our evidence-informed strategies. As the nation’s leading authority on the direct care workforce, PHI promotes quality direct care jobs as the foundation for quality care. For further information, visit

About the National Alliance for Caregiving
Established in 1996, the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) is a national system change organization focused on building health, wealth, and equity for family caregivers through research, innovation, and advocacy. We envision a society that values, supports, and empowers family caregivers to thrive at home, work, and life. Learn more at