Wages for Home Health Care Workers Will Soon Go Up in Five U.S. States
Kaiser Health News recently reported that more than 600,000 personal care workers will soon see gradual increases in pay in five U.S. states. In Massachusetts, California, New York, Washington and Oregon, laws supporting the wage increases will adjust minimum wage pay $15 an hour or the inflation-adjusted equivalent.
Pushing for change
The Service Employees International Union, a non-profit organization supporting low-wage workers, recently joined in the “Fight for 15” movement and springboarded onto the national stage. These recent victories of $15 wages in the U.S. will affect numerous industries, and help many of the union’s low-wage workers out of poverty.
A recent National Academy of Medicine new discussion paper noted other needed changes, in addition to a living wage, that can strengthen and support direct care workers and other personal care aides (PCA). Recommendations include setting minimum training hour targets, facilitating apprenticeships, establishing a National Geriatric Service Corp to help with loan forgiveness and scholarships, and strengthening family leave policies for health care workers.
Workers on the front lines
For home health care providers – those often on the front lines when it comes to assisting seniors and other individuals with their daily activities – the move towards higher wages is a welcome change. It will help assure higher employee retention in an industry that currently sees suffers one of the highest turnover rates of all jobs nationwide.
The new laws ensure higher wages for workers whose daily tasks are not unlike those of trained hospital staff; medication reminders, meal planning and preparation, and help with aspects of personal hygiene and home chores. The changes mean that seniors will get more of the care they need, and with better quality of life and safer health outcomes as they age.
When aides offering home health care support form longer lasting bonds with their older adult clients, they’re more likely to recognize when there may be a health concern that needs to be brought to a supervisor’s and family’s attention. This can mean that health care issues are addressed promptly and efficiently. Fast actions can prevent accidents and illness and address problems that could get out of hand quickly, like skin infections or pneumonia.
When health care workers stay in their jobs longer, they also provide needed companionship to the elders in their care. Older adults are more likely than their younger counterparts to suffer from feelings of depression and isolation. Consistency in caregiving can help alleviate these feelings and provide additional opportunities for socializing and friendship.
Caregiving consistency also provides seniors an additional outlet to whom they can share their needs and health issues. In between family visits and health care appointments a home health care provider is there to listen: sometimes the only act that helps an older adult feel respected and loved.
Quality of care improvements
Kaiser Health is quick to point out that these wage increases need to be coupled with increased screening and training to fully turn the industry around. While service quality across the country won’t drastically improve overnight, the higher wages we’re seeing in some cities and states will go a long way towards increasing the skills of quality health aide staff.
Currently, there are over two million personal care aides employed in the USA from coast to coast. With these new minimum wage laws, an estimated 640,000 of the aides, hired privately or through agencies, will see substantial raises.
Industry analysis indicates that higher wages are sure to aid in employee retention, keeping workers in jobs long enough to form important client-caregiver bonds. Higher wages will also push caregivers to become better health care professionals and in-home aides, all which will have lasting benefits on how senior care is delivered nationwide.
Posted Date:- November 1, 2016
Posted By:- ZyanaMorris
Posted in:- Volunteer
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