From Our Community

From Our Community

Lacking staff, he again finds himself in transitional care

by James “Jimmy Wheels” Lovold

I’d like to call this 2019 Revisited. To me it’s just another chapter in my life regarding the personal care attendant (PCA) shortage which I wrote about two years ago. Here’s the continuation of the story. Just recently it happened again!

Another trip to south Minneapolis to what I call my Minneapolis home. This time it was because my one and only PCA was on vacation and there wasn’t anyone else to come in and cover her hours. Here I go again, making arrangements with the transitional care unit for me to take up one of their beds, again. Something so very unnecessary.

My letter writing skills might have to come back into play, and send the governor another letter like I sent him before that. I’m guessing that he never read it. By the way, this last visit was one day short of a week.

The governor still needs to give the PCAs the money to do the job they do for us, the people that rely on the PCAs each and every day.

Because nothing has changed in the two years that I started writing about this, I’ve decided to go a different way. The Consumer-Directed Community Supports (CDCS) way! I’m hoping because of this change that I will be making will make a big difference. When I’m done I’ll be able to hire and release people when needed.

Plus, here’s the bonus, I hope, is that I’ll be able to pay these PCAs what they’re worth. That’s my new chapter in 2019 REVISITED. Keep your eyes open for more writings. I don’t think I’m done yet.

Editor’s note: And here is what Lovold wrote in 2019. At that time Gov. Tim Walz had observed a day in the life of a PCA, to put a spotlight on the challenges such workers face. The visit was followed by print and broadcast media, and by members of Minnesota’s disability community. The visit has drawn a mixed reaction from community members, with some saying they appreciate Walz’s efforts and others questioning if the event was simply for the cameras. The event was called “Walk a Day with an HHA” with HHA standing for home health aide.

Walz used the occasion to highlight the need for the state to invest in people with disabilities, and allow them to stay in their own homes. When Walz made his visit there were more than 8,000 job openings for home care workers.

Here are comments Lovold sent to WCCO-TV after seeing its report.

After seeing your story about the PCA situation, I decided I wanted to write an email to the governor telling him about my situation of lack of PCA services due to the fact that we have a PCA shortage going on seriously right now. All because of the pay!

PCAs can’t survive on what they make. I’ve spent half of this year in Minneapolis in a TCU or transitional care unit because of this situation. I also am a recipient of the PCA services. I’m a disabled man from birth who relies on these services every day of my life.

I thought you might like to hear another side of the story that doesn’t get talked about much. What happens to us when we don’t have the care in our homes?

Lovold lives in Oakdale.