"Stuck at the Nursing Home Door"
Nursing homes are a big industry in this country. Many of them do not give proper care. In my opinion, people aren't paid enough to take care of people. Some of the nurses, nurses aides, etc. do only what they have to do. It is apalling what our senior citizens -- and our disabled no matter what age -- have to endure.
The people they have working in the day programs, workshops, and institutions, are paid very low wages. Because of this the people that are doing this work are doing it because it is the only job they can get.
Nursing homes tell people they have to transfer from the bed to a chair before they can leave. What a bunch of baloney! An older friend of mine was in a nursing home. She told them, "what's the difference if i can transfer or not? I couldn't do it before I came in and I was home then."
Workers deserve living wages, and benefits (good health plans, healthy working conditions, paid vacations, etc.) Both Nursing Home workers and Home Care Workers deserve this and certainly don't have this yet, by a long shot. Therefore they need unions which fight for these demands.
Crips deserve everything they need to live a productive, happy, healthy and dignified life. For most of us that means independent living, with consistent, quality nursing care if we need it, personal care as well as accessible schools, jobs and communities. For some it means living in more communal situations that meets THEIR needs.
When it comes to policy issues, to priorities in funding, the priority is to continuously evaluate and improve the services, programs, and facilities based first on the needs of crips. If we find something that denies the needs of the crips (most Nursing Homes which are grossly underfunded jails!) then that has to be reassessed, just as other jobs such as tobacco farmers, pesticide producers, armament manufacturers need to be reassessed. If we determine that those jobs are at odds with our desires for health, peace and justice for all, then we need to redirect these industries to healty, just, and peaceful ones. AND we need to provide retraining and adequate compensation for the workers in the old industries.
The millennium is the time for more grassroots alliances like the Teamsters and Turtles. We need alliances of the crips, nurses, homecareworkers, and other health workers. And the alliance has to rethink the priorities we have inherited by a system which has denied the needs of both crips and workers and radically change them. The needs of crips must be first, just as the needs of the children is first priority in re-evaluating schooling models. And then we need to provide the best working conditions for health workers and teachers in more progressive models.
Hopefully, this discussion is a loving step in building and solidifying that alliance! Join us and tell other folks about this site!
disabled home care worker and member of the National Writers Union, U.A.W. in Northern California.
I agree with Marta Russell's story about unions and home care workers. The Union is not in touch with the workers. It would be better if we could care for people in their homes, it is what they want. Unfortunately, to get benefits you have to go with an agency, and even then the benefits are not very good.
I have been trying, along with a wonderful 24 hr care provider, to provide
around the clock total care for my severely brain injured 24-year-old son who was in a car accident 6 years ago.
We live in Oregon.
Oregon has the waiver plan in place, but my son's 24 hour care provider still
cannot get a little well earned time off . He is exhausted and it is so very unfair that home care workers are still treated this way. I would love to get the word out.
What's your opinion?
Back to table of contents