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COMMENTARY: Direct-Care Workers’ Low Wages ‘Morally Wrong’

November 26, 2012

Iowa must take action to create better-quality jobs for its 70,000 direct-care workers, according to an op-ed published in the Des Moines Register on November 24.

Direct-care workers provide crucial services that allow elders and people with disabilities to live with dignity, write the op-ed’s authors, Di Findley and John Hale, the executive director and policy consultant, respectively, of the Iowa CareGivers Association.

Care recipients and their families recognize the invaluable services these workers provide, Findley and Hale write. 

Nevertheless, little has been done to improve direct-care workers’ wages and provide them with decent benefits, they argue.

“Our society says all the right things, but fails miserably to put those words into action,” Findley and Hale write. “This is wrong. Socially wrong. Morally wrong. Economically wrong.”

Findley was also interviewed in a broadcast news report earlier that week on Des Moines’ NBC affiliate, WHO-TV.

The investigative news report is about care standards in Iowa’s nursing homes. In it, Findley says that poor direct-care job quality leads to high turnover rates, which in turn degrades the quality of care received by residents.

“It’s a profession that is grossly underpaid and undervalued by society in general,” Findley says in the television news report.

“We often hear it referred to as the toughest job you’ll ever love,” she adds.

— by Matthew Ozga

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