Archive for April, 2011

The Misclassification of Direct Care Workers

Posted by on April 26th, 2011 at 9:41 am | Comments Off on The Misclassification of Direct Care Workers

On behalf of our members, I would like to congratulate the National Private Duty Association for its efforts to stabilize the direct care workforce by advocating for the clarification of worker classification rules.  Because caring for and supporting elders and people living with disabilities  is performed  by low-income workers who are likely to receive low wages and may have limited or no health insurance benefits, it is absolutely critical that direct care workers income  be reported accurately to the IRS.

Proper classification of direct care with accurate reporting to the IRS will protect direct care workers as well as ensure that direct care workers receive their properly earned retirement benefits from Social Security.  Failure to properly report direct care wages, negatively impacts the ability of direct care workers to receive retirement benefits they may be entitled to receive.

Please read this guest article by the National Private Duty Association on this important issue.

Good and True and Wise

Posted by on April 26th, 2011 at 9:40 am | 3 Comments »

There’s an old tale about a traveler in a faraway land who sees a great city in the distance and asks a wise man by the roadside, what kind of people will I find there? The wise man asks him, what kind of people are there where you came fromWhere I come from, the traveler replies, why they’re selfish and ignorant. I’m afraid that is the kind of people you will find here as well, the wise man tells him.

Soon, a second traveler approaches the city. He, too, asks the wise man what kind of people he will find there. When asked what kind of people are there where he came from, he answers, good and true and wise. You’ll find the people here the same, he’s told.

I think about this story when I’m tempted to criticize my co-workers at the day activity center. We are supposed to be teaching adults with developmental disabilities to be independent, but we do the opposite. We control them from the minute they step off the bus or the mini-van. We tell them to sit down and be quiet. We make it clear to them: You do not open the refrigerator door. You do not walk into the office. You do not speak in a little girl voice. You do not touch the sound system during music group.  You do not talk about your brother who died.

Continue reading »

The Budget Debate: Make Your Voices Heard

Posted by on April 19th, 2011 at 7:36 am | Comments Off on The Budget Debate: Make Your Voices Heard

David Ward

Just one day after agreeing to a budget deal for 2011, the House of Representatives passed a 2012 budget plan on Friday.  The budget resolution, introduced by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), is reported to cut $5.8 trillion in spending over the next decade.  The budget resolution cuts several social programs, including cuts that could drastically reduce or eliminate services for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.

Despite it being highly unlikely that the Senate will pass the House budget plan, it is a clear signal that direct care workers, seniors and people with disabilities must make their voices heard in the 2012 budget debate.  The House budget plan will likely reduce access to health and long-term care services and fails to propose an alternative proposal to ensure that our nation’s most vulnerable individuals are able to obtain the care and services that they need.

Continue reading »

DCA Credentialing Program Underway in Florida

Posted by on April 18th, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Comments Off on DCA Credentialing Program Underway in Florida

The following story was contributed by Terry Bucher

Terry Bucher (right)

The Florida Professional Association of Care Givers is delighted to be the avenue through which DCA will be offering the new Personal Care and Support Credential in the State of Florida. As the Founder and President Emeritus of FPACG, I see our new partnership with DCA as an extension of our efforts to recognize the importance of on-going education for the direct care workforce.  Through this partnership, we are raising the level of professionalism for personal care givers, assuring that they are well trained and committed to providing quality care for all the lives we touch, providing assistance with love, compassion and dignity.

Continue reading »

Caregiver Advocate Looks to Hone Skills at 2011 VI Leadership Training

Posted by on April 18th, 2011 at 5:55 pm | 2 Comments »

My name is Meriam Jawhar, and for the last ten years I have been a proud advocate for elders and people with disabilities, working to ensure that the most vulnerable in our society are given the voice they deserve. As an elected member of the New Mexico Direct Caregivers Coalition, for several months I have been leading New Mexico’s advocacy coalition on behalf of caregivers across the state  in an attempt to better educate and inform local legislators on the need for greater job security for direct care workers.  In so doing, our coalition has stressed the importance of professionalizing the direct care workforce through competitive salaries, training and benefits for workers. Continue reading »

Small “Culture Changes” in Nursing Homes Make a Big Difference in the Lives of Residents

Posted by on April 11th, 2011 at 4:48 pm | 1 Comment »

Guest blog from Brandon Walecka

I have limited experience with direct care workers in the community-based setting.  But in the nursing home (NH) setting I have much more familiarity.  Through the ombudsman program I have been trained to spot issues and concerns of residents in NH facilities.  I have been trained on how to address and resolve concerns of residents.  A NH is a place residents call “home.”  The NH has become a place where someone may live the remaining days of their lives or come in for a brief period of rehabilitation and recovery until they may return to their home.  Continue reading »

Supporters Advocate for Direct Care Workers in Maine House of Representatives

Posted by on April 11th, 2011 at 4:44 pm | 4 Comments »

Mahatma Gandhi once said what you do will be insignificant.  But it is very important that you do it.

David Moreau

I thought of that driving home from Augusta last Wednesday after taking a whole leave day off from work so that I could spend a long afternoon, first waiting and then testifying at the legislative hearing on LD 818, a bill to improve training and retention of direct care workers.

I am a direct care worker.  The granite hallways of the state house crowded with suit-coated legislators and lobbyists were a shock to me.  All that bustling seemed overwhelming.  Everyone else seemed to know where they were going and what they were doing and it all seemed important. Continue reading »

Announcing DCA’s Voices Institute Class of 2011

Posted by on April 4th, 2011 at 2:28 pm | 4 Comments »

Brenda Nachtway

Congratulations to the Voice’s Institute Class of 2011!  We are proud to announce that the new class will be heading to the beautiful DeKoven Center in Racine, Wis for next month’s national leadership training program.

We will make new friends, learn from each other and find our voices as leaders of a movement to improve direct care jobs.

I would like to thank the selection committee for their time and commitment to selecting the Voice’s Institute class of 2011.

Continue reading »

DCA Credential Professionalizing New Mexico Workforce

Posted by on April 4th, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Comments Off on DCA Credential Professionalizing New Mexico Workforce

I serve as the New Mexico Direct Care Association Chairman and as Co-Chair of the National Credential Commission for Professional Home and Community Services, and I believe DCA is helping us all do better work as caregivers.  The credential recognizes our professionalism and the quality care that we provide.

Mark Cerna

I began my career as a direct care worker when my father became ill and was his primary caregiver until he passed away.  In that role I gained invaluable experience as a caregiver, and the DCA Personal Care and Support Credential would recognize that kind of commitment and encourage more direct care workers to join the professional workforce.

Alecia Springer, a family provider from Los Alamos and Alex Brandt, a Psychology Technician from Los Lunas are two others who serve as leaders working along with me in New Mexico and nationally. Both are graduates of the 2009 Voices Institute National Leadership Program of DCA. They were among only 30 individuals selected annually from a national group of applicants.

“Alex, Alecia and Mark were nominated to the Voices Institute to better prepare ourselves as future leaders in the field of direct care, and in order that they might advocate even beyond New Mexico for others working in the field of direct care,” says Barbara LeMaire, former executive director of the New Mexico Direct Caregivers Coalition.

Continue reading »