Letter to the Editor - May 2014

Caregiver wage increase needed

I recently read the article published on April 10th headlined, “Caregivers could see wage hike approved.” I strongly support the idea that the increase in the caregiver wages would help improve the quality of care for individuals and allow caregivers to support themselves financially.

Wages in home- and community-based services are behind other jobs. Why is it that in 2013 nursing home workers won a rate increase of 5 percent for employee’s wages and individuals in home and community settings who serve the disabilities and the elderly only got a rate increase of 1 percent? Caregivers have extremely physically and emotionally demanding jobs. This is not fair.

I have worked at two group homes for adults with disabilities and my job duties have included administering medication through a feeding tube, managing a colostomy bag, and monitoring and changing an insulin pump. In fact, one of the reasons why I left the second job was because I thought the wage did not match the complex tasks I was completing.

Clearly, there is currently a high turnover rate for these positions. The quality and consistency of staff is crucial for the individuals to receive good care. Although the goal is close to being met, passage of the bill is not certain yet. Passage of the bill will help improve the quality of life of both the individuals receiving care and the caregivers. Why would anyone not support that goal?

Joni Klovstad, St. Paul



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