The skills and qualities gained through nursing assistance certification program make nursing assistants crucial in the direct care field. Millions of Americans wholly rely on direct care workers for essential activities of daily living (ADL) such as walking, feeding, washing, bathing, grooming, transfer from bed to wheelchair, repositioning and lifting from bed, meeting emotional and spiritual needs of the patient. The old, disable and patients, recovering from long illness and post operative conditions cannot hope to perform their daily routine work without the support of home health aides, orderlies and nursing assistants.
Are you sure, CNAs who are performing such crucial direct patient care everyday routine tasks and trained through CNA Classes are financially properly taken care of by their employers or government? The answer will be in negative because nursing assistants and home health aides are most neglected direct health care professionals. The low wages, benefits, poor trainings, long hours of working and standing on feet continuously for long hours and lack of respect are common among personal care attendants. The stress, work trauma, and injury in the form of back and neck pains are common among these people, because their job demands lifting, moving and repositioning of patients, and move them from place to place.
Moreover, the poor health benefits in the form of health insurance, paid sick days leave and other common benefits have vastly stepped up the chronic and critical health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, stress, mental trauma, stress and injuries among the direct care workers. These health conditions among nursing assistants are also highest on-the job critical health problems in the nation.
The end result of lack of basic and health benefits and training, low CNA salary, and injuries greatly affect the safe and quality CNA services provided by nursing assistants. The injury and health conditions of theses care workers deteriorate continuously because they are not able to pay for treatments due to poor wages and lack of health insurance benefits. They also cannot take time off from their jobs for recovery because the paid sick leaves and other benefits are not offered to them. The continuous working in such situation also prevents them from offering quality and competent health care to their patients.
The policy makers must enact laws to help and protect direct care workers to improving quality of cares in any health care settings or at homes:
- The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), a federal law must include home health aides and direct care worker and provide them with overtime protection and guaranteed basic wage, or living wage.
- Nursing assistants must be paid respectable CNA salary.
- Home Health Aides and direct patient care workers must be provided with travel expenses while travelling to visit a patient.
- Improve Work environment by supporting Direct Care Job Quality Improvement Act.
- Provide financial assistance to needy families for maintaining comfortable living expenses because home health and direct patients care workers are mostly women, and compelled to work for supporting families.
- Improve the quality of training.
- Medicare and Medicaid compensated workers must be paid higher wages.
These steps will go a long way in improving the quality of care and health conditions for the direct care workers.