Archive for ‘Massachusetts’

Direct Care Workers in the News

Posted by on September 15th, 2014 at 2:55 pm | Comments Off on Direct Care Workers in the News

Maine needs to increase reimbursement rates and give us direct care workers a raise, says Helen Hanson in a Bangor Daily News editorial.

How negative public attitudes toward direct care work can damage workers’ morale and self-image.

Not just anyone can do direct care work, says a striking worker: “It takes a very long time to understand how to work with very complex people with very complex needs.”

A strong op-ed on what’s wrong with Britain’s “zero-hour” home care contracts, which offer workers no protection and no guaranteed hours.

With a statewide average wage of $8.60 an hour, home care workers in Missouri are calling for higher wages.

An ethics instructor considers what fair pay for home care workers would look like—and why we need to make it happen.

This video for NADSP’s Direct Support Professional Appreciation Week (September 7-13) celebrates the work done by DSPs.

Professors Lisa Dodson and Nancy Folbre on why the Supreme Court’s Harris v. Quinn decision will hurt home care consumers.

Continue reading »

Direct Care Workers in the News

Posted by on August 15th, 2014 at 9:35 pm | Comments Off on Direct Care Workers in the News

A new rule proposed by the U.S. Department of Labor would raise the minimum wage for VA hospital CNAs and other federal contractors to $10.10 an hour.

A new guidance and updated fact sheet from the U.S. Department of Labor help states make sure home care workers are paid fairly under the minimum wage and overtime rule.

Another excellent editorial from the New York Times on why U.S. Department of Labor must resist pressure to delay implementing the minimum wage and overtime rule for home care workers.

Home care worker Maureen Lewis on why we must improve the lives of the next generation by improving wages for direct care workersContinue reading »

Direct Care Workers in the News

Posted by on July 16th, 2014 at 3:49 pm | Comments Off on Direct Care Workers in the News

A new rule proposed by US DOL would raise the minimum wage for VA hospital CNAs and other federal contractors to $10.10 an hour.

A new guidance and updated fact sheet from U.S. Department of Labor help states make sure home care workers are paid fairly under the minimum wage and overtime rule.

Another excellent New York Times editorial on why U.S. Department of Labor must resist pressure to delay implementing the minimum wage and overtime rule for home care workers.

A family member, National Nurses United and a professor of labor and employment studies on the disaster that is the Supreme Court’s Harris v. Quinn ruling.

A small raise for Massachusetts home care aides is a step in the right direction, but there’s a long way to go yet. Continue reading »

Direct Care Workers in the News

Posted by on June 16th, 2014 at 10:16 am | Comments Off on Direct Care Workers in the News

Punitive managers and overreliance on rigid rules foster bad patterns of interaction in nursing homes, harming resident care and staff satisfaction—but there are methods managers can use to encourage positive interactions between staff.

Delay the minimum wage and overtime rule for home care workers even longer? Home care workers deserve better, and so do consumers.

Watch Respect: The Joy of Aides, a wonderful 20-minute documentary by Eva Sweeney, a woman with CP, about how to hire and manage aides and what it’s like when a direct care worker and a client work well together.

Good news for home care worker wages: a 5% pay raise in Minnesota, home care workers fighting for fair wages all across America, and rallies in Cleveland and Boston, where home care workers are calling for a $15 minimum wage for their profession.  Continue reading »

Direct Care Workers in the News

Posted by on May 29th, 2014 at 10:30 pm | Comments Off on Direct Care Workers in the News

The Massachusetts Senate is deciding whether to give home care workers a much-needed raise.

Watch this excellent program from NJTV’s Due Process about why home care workers and other low-wage workers need paid time off.

Contract workers are a fast-increasing percentage of the workforce, in direct care and elsewhere—and that’s a worrisome trend.

Let’s not let technology run amok: A reminder that robots can never take the place of human beings in the very personal business of direct care work.

The Library of Congress is funding research on home health care workers by a University of Oregon team.

A heroic direct care worker saved 20 residents after fire broke out in an adult foster care home in Detroit.

The mammoth national Home Instead Senior Care franchise is bringing staff training online.

A home care worker in England is threatening to sue for being issued a parking ticket while visiting a client.

Direct Care Workers in the News

Posted by on April 22nd, 2014 at 11:54 am | Comments Off on Direct Care Workers in the News

DCA’s Jessica Brill Ortiz will be one of the participants at a May 8 Capitol Hill briefing on long-term care hosted by OWL – the Voice of Midlife and Older Women. Jessica will explain the importance of direct care workers and the direct care workforce issues that must be addressed in order to ensure quality long-term care services and supports for all who need them.

A new bill would create advanced positions for CNAs with specialized skills in care transitions, dementia and other areas. 

An issue brief from Center for Law and Social Policy looks at the challenges many direct care workers and other low-income parents face as they cope with scheduling child care and other difficulties caused by volatile job schedules.

We must pay home care workers enough to support themselves and their families, say state senator Patricia Jehlen and Executive Director Lisa Gurgone of the Home Care Aide Council in Massachusetts.  Continue reading »

Direct Care Workers in the News

Posted by on January 14th, 2014 at 12:25 pm | Comments Off on Direct Care Workers in the News

A federal appeals court ruled against a nursing home that fired a pregnant nursing assistant. Meanwhile, another home in Michigan put a pregnant worker on forced unpaid leave.

California Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed state budget would prohibit overtime hours for IHSS home care workers.

Dozens of home care workers in San Francisco won $800,000 in back pay through the city’s Wage Theft Ordinance.

Direct care workers in Massachusetts are getting their first raise in five years.

Why developing the right organizational culture is so important for home care providers.

A Toronto personal support worker explains how hard it is to make a living in her profession.

Boston Home Care Workers Go Extra Mile After Marathon Bombing

Posted by on April 29th, 2013 at 8:10 pm | 2 Comments »
Mabel Nvule

Mabel Nvule

The Boston Marathon bombing was a tragic reminder of the harm that can be caused by individuals determined to do so. It was also a reminder of the incredible courage and resilience that people and communities show in the wake of an attack. There have been numerous stories about the heroic acts of runners, volunteers, spectators, and first responders who quickly aided the victims, and in the days that followed, police worked tirelessly to make Boston safe again.

With the city in lockdown, direct care workers rose to the occasion as well. Many chose to stay on the job long beyond their scheduled shifts, leaving their own family members at home and suppressing their panic to help their clients get through that terrifying experience.

Continue reading »

Direct Care Workers Help Lead Movement for Paid Sick Days

Posted by on August 21st, 2012 at 6:41 am | Comments Off on Direct Care Workers Help Lead Movement for Paid Sick Days

Mary Tillman of Boston, Massachusetts

Hundreds of thousands of direct care workers face an impossible choice when they get sick. Should they stay home to heal but lose wages and risk losing their jobs, or work sick and risk infecting the people they assist? Fortunately, those who want to fight for their right to paid sick days can do so, thanks to a growing national movement to win paid sick time for all U.S. workers. And for those who want to do something now, 9to5 will host a National Day of Action on Sunday, August 26.

While nearly three out of every four nursing assistants in nursing homes are entitled to paid sick leave, only half (50.5%) of home health aides working for agencies receive any type of sick leave benefit. More than a million additional direct care workers who are working in less formal arrangements are highly unlikely to receive a single paid sick day. Nationwide, over 40 million workers fall in that category.

Mary Tillman, a personal care attendant from Boston, describes the conflict she experiences when forced to choose between her physical and financial well-being. “I have been a personal care attendant, caring for people with disabilities, for over 24 years,” she says. “I have never had a paid sick day. I have gone to work sick on too many occasions and, on one occasion, I even had pneumonia. I could not afford a day without pay when I live from paycheck to paycheck. I don’t think it’s fair or just that any human being should have to make a decision on health because of money. Paid sick time should be a law. Not only does it allow me to take care of myself and my family, but it is safer for my consumer.” Continue reading »

High School Students Earn DCA Personal Care and Support Credential

Posted by on July 18th, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Comments Off on High School Students Earn DCA Personal Care and Support Credential

Download this release as a pdf

Fourteen students at a vocational technical high school in Fall River, Massachusetts, became the first high school students in the nation to earn the Direct Care Alliance’s Personal Care and Support Credential.

The DCA created the credentialing program to establish a national standard for the knowledge and skills required to provide high-quality in-home care. Before it was launched, there was no recognized credential that allowed employers and consumers to assess the knowledge of the home care workers that they hire.

The Personal Care and Support Credential is a competency-based test for direct care workers who provide care and support services in home and community-based settings. Continue reading »

Protecting the Social Safety Net

Posted by on November 8th, 2011 at 10:32 am | 1 Comment »

CNA and DCA member Kelly Gessner testifying at a Senate briefing last week.

UPDATE: Help us fight to preserve these crucial programs by emailing your elected representatives. Our action alert makes it easy to send them a letter.

Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are under attack. Over the past several months, these social safety programs have become the focus of a political battle over what our government needs to do to create jobs and stimulate our struggling economy. This is alarming because these programs are fundamental to the already shaky economic security of our seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income families—a group that includes many direct care workers and their families, as well as most of the people they assist.

Unfortunately, the debate about whether to cut social safety net programs is being driven by politics, not the realities that millions of low-income families and individuals face every day. The Direct Care Alliance and many of our allies are waging campaigns to preserve these crucial programs. Continue reading »

Study Finds Lessons in Massachusetts Health Reform on How to Cover DCWs

Posted by on November 11th, 2009 at 4:42 pm | Comments Off on Study Finds Lessons in Massachusetts Health Reform on How to Cover DCWs

PHI MA study cover with borderDespite the overall success of Massachusetts’ health care reform, too many of the state’s direct care workers still cannot afford employer-sponsored health insurance, according to a new study from PHI and the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine.

According to Coverage for Caregivers: Lessons from Massachusetts Health Reform, (PDF) only one in every five direct care workers in the state have enrolled in an employer’s health care plan. Statewide, nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of working-age adults are covered through their employers.

Direct care workers often opt out of their employers’ plans because the premiums and copays are too costly. Instead, many work part-time in order to qualify for the state’s insurance plan, which costs less than most employer plans.“This disincentive to work undermines state efforts to build a quality, stable direct-care workforce,” said PHI Massachusetts Policy Director Amy Robins. Continue reading »

Direct Care Workers in the News

Posted by on October 27th, 2009 at 1:58 pm | Comments Off on Direct Care Workers in the News
Daniel Escojido

Daniel Escojido

DSP Chronicles Profiles Daniel Escojido

Daniel Escojido, a 26-year-old direct support professional who is the house manager for a group home is Ponca City, Oklahoma, is profiled in the October issue of The DSP Chronicles. “Is he mature beyond his 26 years? For sure!” says his supervisor in Tom King’s article. “Some people in this field have got it, and some don’t have it. Daniel’s got it.”
He was inspired to join the field by his mother, Maria, who provided in-home supports for the elderly. “I saw and watched and heard how she talked with them, the difference she made in their lives and how she loved them and they loved her and I’ve never forgotten that,” he told the publication.

 

Boston Globe Honors Evelyn Coke, Calls for “Decent Pay” for Home Care Workers

An editorial in Sunday’s Boston Globe pays tribute to Evelyn Coke and warns that “many thousands of Evelyn Cokes” will soon be added to the workforce — and they must be paid “a decent wage.” Continue reading »

What I Learned in a Nursing Home: a CNA’s Work is Never Done

Posted by on October 27th, 2009 at 12:29 am | 7 Comments »
Victoria Johnson during her stay in the nursing home

Victoria Johnson during her stay in the nursing home

It was the last week of this May and just starting to warm up when I checked myself into the Highlands Nursing Home in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. I am a 29-year-old medical student at the University Of New England College Of Osteopathic Medicine, and I was taking part in the Learning by Living Project, where medical students are admitted to nursing homes as residents for two weeks to gain insight into how it feels to be an elder in a nursing home.

My day-to-day care and well-being rested solely in the hands of my certified nursing assistants (CNAs). They would wake me in the morning, clean me, dress me, and make sure I ate. I would turn to them if I needed to use the bathroom, wasn’t feeling well, or wanted to go back to my room.

Right off the bat it was easy to see that these CNAs were not caring for the elderly for fame and glory, but because they wanted to help. They wanted their work to make a difference, and that’s what drove them to do their jobs well.

During my stay I saw many families thanking the staff, but it saddened me to know that they hadn’t had the opportunity to meet all of the amazing people taking care of their family members. Continue reading »

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

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