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Commentaries Support HBO Documentary Profiling Nurse Aide

March 17, 2014

Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life & Times of Katrina Gilbert, a documentary airing tonight on HBO, offers a rare and powerful glimpse into the life of a direct-care worker earning poverty-level wages, according to a pair of editorials written by PHI staff.

Blogging for, PHI President Jodi M. Sturgeon writes that the story of Katrina Gilbert, a certified nursing assistant and single mother of three, “is typical of the nation’s more than 4 million direct-care workers.”

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Despite working long hours at a job with the nation’s highest injury rates, “Katrina struggles daily to pay rent, put food on the table, meet daycare expenses, pay her car loan and insurance, and put gas in her car,” Sturgeon writes.

Like roughly half of the 90-percent-female direct-care workforce, Katrina must rely on public subsidies to make ends meet, Sturgeon notes.

In The Tennessean, PHI staff writer Matthew Ozga adds that “the combination of low wages, long hours and little respect results in intense stress for many paid caregivers.”

Given the poor quality of most direct-care jobs, it will be difficult to recruit the necessary number of committed caregivers as the baby boomers age into retirement, he writes.

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