Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Caregivers get increased training requirements but may also gain in status with Washington’s new Initiative 1029

This month’s election has produced results that will change the face of our nation – and I don’t mean that as literally as a lot of political pundits do when they talk about the groundbreaking nature of having the first African American president.

In my mind, we crossed that barrier about 3 seasons ago on “24”…but that’s another story!

The changes I’m thinking about relate to caregiver training. In Washington, an initiative mandating increased training for caregivers passed by a wide margin. The initiative’s backers (full disclosure – it was backed to the tune of millions of dollars by the SEIU) got the public’s attention by pointing out that caregivers in Washington require less training that hair dresser or dog groomers.

Many providers are concerned with this new mandate for training. They know, with the turnover of caregiving staff, that the cost will be high to gain compliance. It will add an extra layer of overhead to a home care agency that will, inevitably, get passed on somewhere (any guesses?).

But at the same time I can’t help but wonder if increasing the training requirements of caregivers may help them gain status and respect. Perhaps, if we require something akin to licensing, we will recognize the value of these workers. We may even – gasp – increase pay and benefits for this group of chronically undervalued workers.

As my mother grows older, and my own years seem to rapidly move toward the “senior” classification, I know that I find much more compelling the need to respect caregivers who may someday – soon – be caring for my mom or me.

Baby steps…

Holiday Gift Ideas for Caregivers

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