Letters to the Editor - September 2010

Need for PCA oversight

What did I do?

Is there any person with a disability, working to remain independent with assistance, that has not had complains about a problem Personal Care Attendant, but held onto them much longer than we would like to admit because of:

• Fear that you could not find a replacement.
• Fear of retaliation.
• Fear that they are using drugs.
• You can’t prove your attendants stole your expensive clothing or other valuables that are important to you.
• Someone who is loud, disrespectful, argumentative and/or abusive and they insist that you are the one with the problem.
• Someone who needs your help as much as you need theirs. (Eats your food and/or begs money from you)

How many people would you suspect have had these problems? I know I have. I don’t know what to do when that happens. Do they have to be given a two-week notice? What are the best places to find PCAs who share common goals?

Personal Care Attendants actively using illegal drugs and lying have been my most common and exasperating problem.

What are specific steps I can take in each of these situations?

A decade ago I informed a Minneapolis home health care that their employee had stolen money from my home while working. They informed me that “she had been accused two other times that same week by two other clients.” Yet instead of firing her they sent her to my home because she said she was innocent and they believed her. After I accused her, the attendant (I was told) was fired by the agency. They said, “She is such a liar.”

The Minnesota Department of Health investigated. The MDH concluded that only one incident could be proven and the two other accusers would not prove their accusations. MDH left out details in their report that I gave them as proof that this particular attendant was guilty.

The home health care agency was commended and told they had done nothing wrong. MDH stated in their report that the three accusers were “forgetful, elderly and had psychiatric problems” and that the accused PCA said she was innocent. The accusations totaled $1,100. After promising to replace my stolen money and belongings, the agency refused to even discuss the issue with me again.

I felt powerless; I was accused of lying by the MDH for the sake of saving the agency. I felt the professionals I trusted, the agency, the PCA and the MDH, betrayed me. This took place at Christmas. I never met the other accusers. These events may still be happening at that agency.

Now as a PCA choice client, I am CEO of my life and my home. I have been happily matched with an organization of common goals and trustworthy attendants for six years.

What information can you share that can empower me to advocate for myself in the future? Who can clients trust to get our money back?

Why is there no state PCA board of clients/Facebook group that we can contact to mediate/help get money back/advise clients of these issues? Numerous friends have shared the same problem with me.

Eager for solutions,

Patricia Anita Young, Minneapolis


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See the world of birds

Would you like to feed a bird today? It is easy to do! Begin with a bird stand and feeder. Fill with a general bird food.

Watch instantly. Many varieties come to your home. A chickadee, a cardinal, a robin, a bluejay. Add a bird bath for needed water.

Would you like to feed a bird today? It is easy to do! We live in a great area. So let’s do it! It does not take much time and continue through the winter. They need you!

Cassandra Doyle, Eden Prairie

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