LeadingAge Ohio recently launched a public awareness campaign designed to break down misperceptions around aging health care and improve access to careers in these services.
Dubbed Gateways to Care, the campaign is designed to “change the narrative around aging services,” as well as generate career pathways in various senior health sectors, the nonprofit membership organization recently indicated in a statement.
Public misperceptions around aging health care services, including hospice and palliative care, represent the largest recruitment barrier among clinicians, according to Susan Wallace, president and CEO at LeadingAge Ohio.
“Positions in aging services regularly place in the top three most in-demand jobs in the state and, despite perceptions exacerbated by COVID-19, continue to offer rewarding career pathways for Ohioans of all qualification levels,” Wallace said in a statement. “LeadingAge Ohio is doing all we can to get the word out about the great jobs in this growing field, which represents a large sector of Ohio’s economy.”
Established in 1937, LeadingAge Ohio is an association that represents an estimated 400 long-term care, senior housing, home- and community-based service providers, and hospices across the state. The organization employs more than 35,000 staff who provide care to roughly 400,000 patients in more than 150 communities statewide.
The online campaign is being funded by the LeadingAge Ohio Foundation, the nonprofit organization’s philanthropic arm.
It features links to job boards of senior care providers across the state, as well as regional data around available aging services.
The campaign’s first phase will include digital and traditional advertising focused on engaging students at career and technical centers, state colleges and universities, and other educational institutions.
Hospice and palliative care providers have fought a long battle against common misunderstandings around the nature of the services they provide. Case in point, nearly a third of participants in a 2022 study indicated that they believed hospice “intentionally hastens death and the dying process.” These data were included in research from the MessageLab Serious Illness Messaging Project.
LeadingAge Ohio’s new outreach campaign features true stories and experiences from providers across different aging health care sectors in an effort to break down these common misperceptions, according to Allison Salopeck, board chair at LeadingAge Ohio and president and CEO of Jennings Center for Older Adults.
“One barrier to entry is the antiquated perception of aging services — particularly nursing facilities — as well as the impact of ageism in our culture,” Salopeck said in the statement. “Gateways to Care will highlight the inspirational stories that play out daily within our communities.”
Another aim of the campaign is to support public policy initiatives that directly benefit older Ohioans and caregivers. The digital campaign will be targeted at educating state lawmakers and the general public on policies that improve quality of life for aging populations.