As mentioned in previous articles, the home care industry is certainly growing, but aides — the men and women who support clients with their basic needs — continue to struggle with relatively low wages. While it’s good news that the home health care industry is the number one job creator, it’s also discouraging that so many of those positions are considered ‘low-wage’ jobs.
These home care aides may have great compassion for their clients and be diligent in their jobs, but as they continue to struggle financially themselves, they may be lured away by higher-paying jobs in other industries.
The solution is not as clear-cut as some may like to think. Unions have been stepping up their efforts to unionize these jobs, and while that may force higher wages, without increased Medicaid reimbursements from the federal level, many of these home care agencies simply cannot compete.
As reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer in its news blog, The health care industry is growing, but not all jobs are equal. For Hahnemann workers, what are the prospects? written by Juliana Feliciano Reyes:
“The health-care jobs that are growing are in fields like home health care and urgent care, and they pay much less. They’re generally not unionized, in part because these facilities are much smaller and siloed (although an organization called the United Home Care Workers of Pennsylvania is organizing workers to get them more rights and training — something anti-union groups have been fighting). Those facilities are also newer, as opposed to Hahnemann, which has been unionized since the 1970s.
Aside from lower pay and worse benefits, they can also be dead-end jobs, said Batt, because these facilities tend to be flatter, without much opportunity to advance.”
Unfortunately, it’s also dismissive to assume these positions are dead-end jobs. There are men and women who started out as part-time caregivers who become owners of home care franchises. Franchise opportunities are available to those diligent and hard workers who wish to lift themselves up, but even they face challenges in trying to maintain livable wages with better benefits, especially when their primary clientele are supported by Medicaid.
Just because an industry is creating jobs doesn’t necessarily mean they are retaining workers, especially valuable workers. The problem is significant and while there are solutions, politics and misconceptions seem to override whatever workable options there may be.
There are advocates who claim unionization is a solution to improving working wages and other conditions within home care, but there are others who feel this path will only lead to more elderly and disabled clients experiencing less access to care as a result.
Latest posts by Valerie VanBooven, RN BSN, Editor in Chief of HomeCareDaily.com (see all)
- Comfort and Safety Aren’t the Only Reasons In-Home Care Remains So Valuable for Aging Seniors - August 23, 2019
- Driving More Nurses in Home Health Care Hampered by Low Reimbursement Rates - August 22, 2019
- NYC’s Job Growth Driven by Home Care, but the Good News Comes with Lower Wage Positions - August 21, 2019