My name is Mike Harrison. I am a displaced factory worker who has found refuge in the direct care workforce.
I do what is called “in-home care” for a single quadriplegic client in his residence. It took me over two years to get the seniority to schedule myself for 40 hours a week. That leaves me 8 hours’ leeway to do emergency fill-in without accruing overtime, which my agency will pay but highly discourages. I am very fortunate to get this benefit, which I will expound on later.
In my job as a DSP (direct support professional), I cook, clean, shop, wet nurse, bathe, and take care of his dog. Basically, I fill in the gaps his spinal muscular condition creates. It’s a pleasure and a privilege to support my client, who is one of the smartest, most driven people I know. I strive to support his independent living and provide some dignity to an otherwise difficult situation.
There are many problems in the direct care world that I am immune to. My wife’s health care benefits from her job are superior and less expensive then the plan offered by agency. Without that option, I’d have to take the less desirable plan or seek another job that offers a better benefit package. Many of my colleagues across the country have no health plan offered, leaving them sick from not seeking treatment to running the risk of financial ruin by paying for pricey medical treatment. Fifty percent of the bankruptcies in this country are caused by medical bills. Continue reading »