Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Commentary on Home care from Linda

David, I have to agree with you comments on home care.

Although I have worked as an LPN in a long term care facility for over ten years, I started out working for a home care agency in 1997.

When I started with this work, I was classified as a "Home Support Worker II" (I was not working as an LPN). I assisted people in their homes with washing, dressing, bathing, cooking, cleaning, errands, companionship and the like). I enjoyed working with people in their homes.

I was paid $13.30 per hour (IN 1997!!!). The rate for these workers has not increased much (if at all). This wage did not include time to travel between clients homes. In others words, I might be booked for two hours in one home, and then have to take a bus for 1/2 hour to get to another job - I was not paid for that 1/2 hour - ONLY the time that I was caring for someone in their home.

I remember getting a call from the scheduler asking if I could drive from my family home in East Vancouver to a client in South Tsawassen for a two hour job. They wanted me in the middle of the weekday rush hour. I politely explained that I could not justify spending over an hour to commute to a two hour job (and then have to drive home) (Incidentally, I was not going to be reimbursed for the use of my car either..). Later, I accepted a job in facility (very hard work, but rewarding personally/professionaly and with fair compensation

You better believe it costs money for good home care. I really admire the people who continue to care for people in their homes. They are doing a great job and they certainly are not being fairly compensated for all that they give.

Oh, and while I am ranting away....it's all well and good that we want to encourage people to stay in their homes - but just look at the hullaballu that occured when that 90+ woman simply wanted a ramp put into her building (where she had been living for 30 years!!).

All the new townhomes that are being built have steps and tiny washrooms - not exactly condusive for people in a wheelchair requiring assistance!!

Hot damn - I think I will just continue. What EXACTLY do they mean by "age friendly communities"??? Would this be more 55+ housing so we can keep our elders completely separated from their families and any community support. How about make the existing housing accessible and encouraging inclusive communities to begin with!!

Supporting volunteerism?? Who the heck doesn't support volunteerism where and when appropriate?? Check out Volunteer Vancouver, Check out the classifieds in the Employment Paper!! Lots of need for good volunteers!!


You want to support seniors - stop delisting needing medications from Pharmacare!

You want to support seniors - every new development must be wheelchair accessible and every new unit must be wheelchair accessible.

You want to support seniors - better fund long term care facilities, provide funding for extra in home care where needed (and pay fair wages to home care workers so that the best and most suitable applicants will take on this work).

You want to support seniors - provide tax relief for seniors who are retired and unable to work so that their pensions and savings are not eaten away by inflation.

Finally, if you want to support seniors - for those elders who eventually have continuing and complex care needs who require placement in a skilled nursing facility - try to have an ounce of compassion and allow the placements to be made based (at least partially) on geography. There is nothing like an elderly couple being torn apart when one needs placement - only to have the placement be 30 kms away and impossible to access by public transit.


Okay, I think I said my piece

Linda Yuill, LPN


Anonymous said...

.....And you said it very well. Thank you. You are obviously a caring and concerned person.

72 and holding :-)

Anonymous said...

Prior to the current occupants of Victoria's halls of power, there was another group.

Their solution to the growing (then) need for senior care was to essentially 'nationalize' all of the 100% volunteer run, privately funded care homes. Including the ones owned and operated very effectively by various church and other social organizations. These groups were forced, at the point of a legal pen, to sell their holdings to the Province for $1 each.

The result was to see ALL, yes ALL, of the volunteers tossed out so that 'properly trained' PAID UNION employees could take over these occupations.

I watched as three very nice, well maintained senior care homes started to deteriorate. By 1996, some 6 years later, there were systems starting to fail. Things like the boilers, the radiators, the outdoor stairways, the windows, etc... By 1999, when the maniacs that started this mess were thrown out there was no way to 'go back' to the better, private (and church) run model. The buildings were starting to fall apart. All due to nearly 10 years of neglect.

Be careful in where you are pointing your fingers when saying that 'only' the Liberals are responsible for the current mess.