July 2009, Michele Ochsner, Carrie Leana and Eileen Appelbaum

This paper seeks to bring an interdisciplinary perspective to issues of recruitment and retention of direct care workers in long-term care. Key sources include the large and growing body of applied work published in the medical gerontology literature, as well as research grounded in broader theories of work organization, work design and workforce policy. In particular, research in organization theory and applied psychology offer evidence-based frameworks that build on the commitment and expertise of the workforce to improve the quality of care.

Although falling well short of a comprehensive review of research relevant to the direct care workforce, in this paper we begin the process of synthesizing the seminal work being done from a variety of normative, theoretical and applied perspectives. Our hope is that casting a wide net across a range of disciplines and perspectives will promote a more thoughtful debate about the agenda for future research and policy.

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