Saturday, December 28, 2019

Why Home Care Should Be Regulated.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
The home care industry is at a crossroads. It's either going to get better and agencies are going to start doing what they need to do, or it will keep getting worse.

Currently in the state of Idaho a Home Care Aide, doesn't require any kind of training or licensing. In fact when you are hired by a home care agency. They give you a packet of paperwork, an answer key, and have you fill everything out. Then they try to get you out in the field as soon as possible. The only training that is provided is when there is a special skill required.

In May of 2019, Mr. Benjamin Reed, 38, died as a result of injuries from scalding hot water. The agency, Boise-based A Caring Hand, was the one that provided the Home Care Aide. However, the Aide wasn't given any training. Training that would have prevented what happened to Mr. Reed.

Currently Home Care Aides are ranked 26th and 20th lowest paid, and make an average of between $9 to $11 an hour in the state of Idaho. In Washington State a Home Care Aide with the designation of Individual Provider can make and average of $15.30 an hour, which is 28% above the national average. They also get paid time off, and affordable health care coverage.

Also in Washington State, you must be certified and have a minimum of seventy hours training, as well as twelve hours of continuing education to keep the certification. There are no requirements in the state of Idaho.

The majority of home care agencies do not offer affordable health care coverage, paid time off, or a living wage. They will work a provider to the point of burn out, and then just move on to the next. The agencies don't care want happens to the provider. So long as the agencies is making their profit. It's a situation that is only going to get worse if there isn't more regulation of the industry.

There is nothing keeping an agency from working a provider seven days a week. There is nothing preventing the agency from hiring people, employing them for a few months and then letting them go for little or no cause.

Agencies in Idaho pay as little as possible, provide no benefits, and send people out hoping that they won't kill anyone. They encourage people to work injured and sick by not providing paid time off or affordable health care. They encourage people to work as much as possible for as little as possible. They don't want anyone working overtime, but they want you to work right up to that line.

The fact that home care agencies aren't more regulated, and aren't required to give even basic benefits. Shows just how little the state cares about what happens to the elderly and the disabled. If they cared there would be more regulation and what happened to Mr. Reed could have been prevented.

The safety of both the care provider and the client is compromised because of the lack of oversight by the state. Because agencies aren't required to give even basic benefits. The safety of the client is compromised because the person providing care is doing so in the majority of cases in an almost exhausted state. The provider can't take time off to rest, they can't miss any time when they're sick because then they will lose pay. Also because they don't have affordable health care. They are less likely to get flu shots, and other medical needs taken care off.

In the case of Home Care, paid time off, and affordable healthcare are more than nice benefits. They are essential to the safety of both the care provider and the client. This is why Home Care should be more regulated and have a lot more oversight. The lack of training is also another issue that has to be addressed. Because, agencies are only looking for bodies to fill shifts and not looking for people that care about the work. The safety of the client is further compromised by the lack of oversight by the state.

It's time that the state begin to look out for the safety of not only the clients, but also of the people that provide care. Home Care needs more regulation, and Home Care Workers need to unionize. Otherwise it will just continue to be more of the same.


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