OOTF Angel Awards -
The Direct Care Crisis
The Ohio Olmstead Taskforce (OOTF) honored direct care workforce members at the first annual Celebrate Our Carers event. People with disabilities, caregivers, and advocates gathered at the Ohio Statehouse to commemorate the service of direct care providers and to provide education about the direct care workforce crisis. This crisis refers to the lack of caregivers available for hire by those who require those services.
According to the Administration for Community Living (ACL), key issues can be identified as barriers in recruiting and retaining direct care workers:
· “Poor wages: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, direct care workers were paid a median hourly wage of $14.20 in 2021. According to a report from PHI, in 2020, about two in five direct care workers used public assistance programs; a little over a quarter were enrolled in Medicaid and just under a quarter used nutrition assistance programs.
· Lack of benefits: According to the same report, in 2020, less than half had health insurance through their employer or a union (and 13 percent had no health insurance at all). Many do not have paid sick days or family/medical leave.
· Limited opportunities for career advancement and professional recognition.” (ACL, 2022)
At Celebrate Our Carers, attendees heard directly from consumers of direct care about the impact that carers make in their lives. A testimonial from OOTF’s website states:
“I am a 50-year-old woman with cerebral palsy. I work a full-time job and am very active. Without dedicated, reliable [personal care assistants] PCAs, I would end up in a nursing home and would not be a productive, taxpaying citizen. Thank you to my current PCAs: Charmaine, Pam, Jeannette, and Lyndsey and to my PCA who passed away in April after 24 years of working for me, Sherry.” - Lisa Marn, Lake County
This is a call to action. To engage in advocacy efforts to solve the direct care crisis, visit www.ohioolmstead.com/issues-advocacy/ootf-direct-care-workforce-crisis-advocacy/ or www.abilitycenter.org/direct-care-crisis/#advocacy
Share your experience with the Direct Care Crisis here: www.abilitycenter.org/direct-care-crisis/#story