Home health care needs a checkup


I was outraged when my personal care assistant (PCA) did not show up one morning. I had been in bed for 12 hours, soaking in my own urine. I was paralyzed from the waist down and was unable to get out of bed without the help of an aide. I kept calling the home health service, and they continually told me they hadn’t found anyone to come and help me. After reading the article in the June 22 Star Tribune (“Weak home care rules victimize the frail, sick”), I felt my situation was minor, but it still should not have happened.

People of Minnesota, we are putting the care of our loved ones in the hands of untrained aides working for poorly managed companies. We cannot let this happen.

We need to step up and demand training and licensing of PCAs and home health aides. It is nothing more than we ask of our beauty operators. We also need to demand that PCAs and health aides get better pay and benefits. Often they earn less than the teenager working at McDonald’s. It’s not uncommon for PCAs and home health aides to work full time for several companies just to get extra hours so they can make a decent living. We need to demand strict monitoring and licensing of home health care companies.

When I came home from the care center, I chose a private home health care service, and it was excellent. However, private home health is expensive, and I was looking at the possibility of lifetime care. When I checked the companies that provided care through the state, I was provided with pages and pages of listings. I blindly chose an agency. That’s when I experienced the problem of PCA no-shows, inexperienced PCAs who didn’t know how to position a bed pan and poor company response. Although there were problems, many of the aides I had were caring individuals who were overworked, but still gave their all.

We all need to support efforts to clean up the home health care industry. This is not acceptable.

Kathryn Holmes, Minnetonka