Archive for ‘Arkansas’

Real Wages Keep Falling for Personal and Home Care Aides

Posted by on September 9th, 2009 at 11:17 am | 1 Comment »

state chartbook coverAs every direct care worker advocate knows, personal and home care aides earn far too little for the important work they do. And now an updated version of PHI’s State Chart Book on Wages for Personal and Home Care Aides (PDF) gives advocates a valuable tool, proving that real wages are actually getting worse.

The chart book analyzes data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, adjusting last year’s wages for inflation to see how their earning power compares to average wages in 1999.

Nationwide, these inflation-adjusted rates, which the chartbook calls “real wages,” have decreased by 3 percent over the past nine years, dropping from $7.50 an hour to just $7.31. Real wages increased in more than half the states during that period, but not enough to make up for their decline in the other 21.

Median wages in 2008 ranged from $7.05 an hour in Texas to $12.55 in Alaska in 2008, or real wages of $5.61 to $9.90. “Wages for personal and home care aides are so low,” says PHI Director of Policy Research Dorie Seavey, “that about 20 percent of these workers received a raise on July 24 when the minimum wage increased to $7.25/hour.”

The chartbook also compares wages to federal poverty level wages for a one-person household.

Elise Nakhnikian
Communications Director
Direct Care Alliance

Pioneer Conference is “Perfect Fit” for DCA

Posted by on September 9th, 2009 at 8:07 am | Comments Off on Pioneer Conference is “Perfect Fit” for DCA
Renee Tillman and Roy Gedat

Renee Tillman and Roy Gedat

It’s always a treat to meet the long-term care providers, advocates and other pioneers at the Pioneer Network’s annual conferences, who “get it” about the need to put the “home” back in “nursing home” – and the importance of direct care workers. So I was glad to be invited to host a session at their 9th national conference in Little Rock, Arkansas, last month.  CNA Renee Tillman, the founder and leader of the Texas Association for Nursing Assistants, met me there.

The focus of the conference was Coming together-Creating Community, and the conference organizers and presenters included direct care workers and talk about direct care worker issues throughout. It was great to be about to talk about direct care work and workers with leaders of nursing homes and other residential care facilities that are working hard to make their facilities into truly welcoming, empowering, respectful places to live and work.

I was also glad to see how many people showed up for my workshop on Developing Direct-Care Worker Leaders as Advocacy Partners. I talked about the impact activists and involved direct care staff are having, their roles in coalitions, strategies for developing meaningful partnerships between employers, workers, consumers, and advocates, and gave an overview of the issues the DCA and our National Direct Care Partnership are advocating for. Then I opened it up for a Q&A session and fielded some smart, thoughtful questions. Continue reading »

Arkansas CNAs Honored at Annual Banquet

Posted by on June 25th, 2009 at 1:02 pm | Comments Off on Arkansas CNAs Honored at Annual Banquet

AANHR CNA Awards Luncheon 2009 Group larger for webArkansas nursing assistants were honored for their service by the Arkansas Advocates for Nursing Home Residents (AANHR). The 110 men and women at the June 8 banquet were nominated by their supervisors or by the resident council at their recognized for the loving care they have provided for the infirm – some for 10, 15, or even 20 years – despite low pay and few words of thanks.

Honorees from 63 nursing homes across the state received personal thanks for their untiring service. They were joined by directors of nursing, administrators, friends, and family members.

I read a proclamation from Governor Mike Beebe, which he created from a form I downloaded from the Career Nursing Assistant Network website’s resources for celebrating Nursing Assistant Week. I also read out each honoree’s name and the tribute his or her sponsor had written as he or she approached the front of the room to receive a framed certificate of merit, a pin, and a Wal-Mart gift certificate.

A number of cash prizes were awarded during the luncheon, which is an annual affair. This year’s was attended by 220 people. We were joined, as always, by State Ombudsman Kathie Gately and Carol Compas, Nursing Home Quality Initiative Project Manager for the Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care, our states Quality Improvement Organization. Kathie gave an inspirational speech and handed out some of the prizes, and Carol talked about culture change and how person-centered care means assigning CNAs to always work with the same set of residents, so they can get to know each other and become a true family.

In the latest issue of our newsletter, (PDF) we featured photos of all of the CNAs who were honored this year. It’s the least we can do for these caring caregivers, who have done so much for us.

Martha Deaver
President, AANHR

DCA Publishes Fact Sheets for Direct Care Worker Advocates and their Allies

Posted by on June 25th, 2009 at 10:56 am | 1 Comment »

A full set of DCA Direct Care Fact Sheets, one for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, is now available in the Resources section of our website.

The one-page sheets were created as a resource for direct care worker advocates and their allies, legislators, policymakers, members of the media, and others interested in direct care issues. They include key facts such as:

  •   The number of home health aides, nursing assistants, and personal and home care aides in the state in 2006 and the projected numbers of each in 2016
  •   The average hourly wage for the state’s direct care workers
  •   What percentage of direct care workers in that state or region are without health insurance

Elise Nakhnikian
Communications Director
Direct Care Alliance