Archive for ‘Louisiana’

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

Nursing Home Staff Share Lessons Learned in Katrina

Posted by on July 22nd, 2009 at 2:47 am | Comments Off on Nursing Home Staff Share Lessons Learned in Katrina

Ann Stansberry“A crisis doesn’t build character; it reveals character,” says director of nursing Ann Stansberry of the staff of her nursing home in The Big Uneasy: Katrina’s Unsung Heroes. “We’re watching on TV and they’re seeing their entire city flooded to the rooftops, not knowing if their husbands are okay, if their children are okay. But they hung in there and they cared for these individuals.”

DONs, nursing assistants, administrators and other staff of several New Orleans nursing homes tell their stories in the film, describing how they cared for and protected residents during and immediately after Hurricane Katrina. “People who work in nursing homes are often invisible – or even worse, they’re viewed negatively,” says co-producer and narrator Cathie Brady in her voiceover. “This film bears witness to their caring and seeks to make visible their selfless acts of courage.”

Available for viewing on the website of B&F Consulting, a long-term care consulting company run by co-producers Brady and Barbara Frank, The Big Uneasy was funded by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.

Managers, owners and staff offer one example after another of how they pulled together in the crisis, developing a deep respect for each other and a hierarchy-free camaraderie. There’s a lot of useful information for nursing home employees in their descriptions of how they prepared for and coped with the crisis. And there’s inspiration to burn in their descriptions of the creative thinking, compassion, and courage that emerged in the crisis – and the ways in which those things have been carried over into their relationships since, with managers asking staff for ideas, and people really listening to and respecting one another. As one of the DONs observes, “You got to know people from the inside out.”

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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