Infrastructure and Home Healthcare: One in the Same

As our elected leaders in Washington squabble over the important details that should be included in the massive and impactful Infrastructure Bill, thousands of Americans with disabilities hold their breath. 

You see, this is the first time we have hope for the future for our immediate healthcare needs. 

Nearly 800,000 people – elderly and disabled – are waiting for home healthcare. 

An 80-year-old grandmother is caring for her elderly husband with dementia. 

A 60-year-old mother is caring for her 30-year-old son with quadriplegia. 

The last example is personal. I’m 32 years old. I have a spinal cord injury. I rely upon my 62-year-old mother for almost around-the-clock care. While we have a wonderful home healthcare agency that provides us with a nurse throughout the day, we have no evening coverage. We haven’t for 15 years. 

My mother – the strongest woman I’ve ever met – has been my evening caregiver for 15 years. Each night after she puts me to bed, I think to myself how “this is not fair,” and “we need extra help.” 

Unfortunately, home healthcare workers (RN’s, CNA’s, HHA’s) are paid incredibly less than what they could make at a hospital or a nursing home. In a world where home healthcare agencies are struggling to hire and maintain a full staff, it’s especially hard to staff evening care. So, we have gone without. 

Amplify my situation by 800,000 people. Amplify my situation by the 800,000 brothers, sisters, mothers and grandparents that will have to care for their family members. Remember that many of these people in need of care want to participate in society, independently, and continue or pursue employment. 

Personally, I work two jobs. My day job as a Diversity and Inclusion Outreach Specialist at Old National Bank, working to create a more inclusive atmosphere for people with disabilities in our company and the communities we serve. And, a part-time job as a City Councilman for the City of Evansville. 

I’m not special. I’m just a guy who has been provided enough care and opportunity to be successful. Yet, thousands of individuals just like me don’t have the care to get out of bed every morning. They don’t have the care to get them to their doctors’ appointments. Their family members don’t have a reprieve. 

Now back to the infrastructure bill. Do a quick Google search on the definition of infrastructure. “The basic physical organizational structures and facilities needed for the operation of a society or enterprise.” I don’t believe there is much argument that home health services directly amplify the operation of our society. 

Let’s help the almost 1 million people who simply want to participate in society. Let’s pass an infrastructure bill that is deeply thoughtful and will make an impact, likely on someone in your family. 

Contact your Senators, urge them to include funding for home healthcare. Contact your Congressman, do the same. Or, share this blog with a personal story, and educate your neighbors and friends on these important issues. We are all in this together, and if we advocate, share stories, and appeal to the hearts of people – we can make an impact. 


 

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  1. Susy Hall Says:

    As always, very well stated Ben. Thank you for your continued advocacy for all in need of homecare. It’s appalling how low reimbursement rates are for health care workers in home health- now more than ever. While hospitals can offer huge staffing shortage bonuses to nurses, there is no financial incentive to provide care to those who want to remain in the comforts of home. Fortunately, we have loyal staff who are not motivated only by financial reasons. They are making a difference and deserve more money. All people deserve the right to live a productive life in their own homes. Families deserve to have supports in place to preserve their health, lifestyles and emotional well being. Sadly, until we are faced with these challenges personally, one cannot appreciate the severity of lack of home care staff due to FUNDING!! I implore all to share this very important blog.


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