There is a shortage of Personal Care Attendants (PCAs) in the healthcare field today. This shortage could affect you or your loved ones if they are in need of such services.
I work as a PCA. While it is rewarding in many ways, it can also be very demanding and the pay is not always very good.
Earlier this month, Newsbreak reported on a man who says he lost both of his legs due to Minnesota's PCA shortage.
The article by David Schuman reporting for CBS Minnesota tells the heartbreaking story of Dennis Prothero, a veteran who lives in Stillwater. Prothero believes that if it weren't for the shortage of PCA workers in the state, he might still have his legs that needed to be amputated below the knees after developing sores on his feet which became infected.
Prothero who was a quadriplegic since a car accident needs PCAs to help him with his daily living including getting him in and out of bed, showering, eating, and dressing. For quite some time Prothero went without any help at night during the week and no help at all on the weekends.
Because he couldn't get help, he slept in his chair which led to the sores on his feet.
According to the article, "Minnesota had more than 7000 vacancies in the personal care industry at the end of 2021, the latest year of data available. The median wage was $14 an hour."
Shortages of PCA workers is not a new thing. An article from 2017 showed a similar pattern of a lack of PCAs. The problem then was the same as now--low pay. I make $14.35 per hour, and for where I live, this is currently a decent paying job. However, I could work full-time for the company I am employed by because there is a great need for PCAs.
While I do not work for any clients who are currently physically disabled, that could change over the next few months after one of my clients has a procedure in which her legs will both be broken and reset to straighten them. This will require me to spend more hours with her and increase the physical demands of the job.
What can we do?
I'm glad you asked. The solution to the PCA shortage crisis does not appear to be coming any time soon, but we can offer help to people who have to "make do" for the time being.
There are products out there that could potentially save someone's legs or arms if they developed sores on their feet or other parts of their bodies.
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