Health-care aides treated poorly

I wrote about this previously and chickened out without a licence and I do not want to wear out my welcome, however ... the issues just are not going away on their own!

I wrote about this previously and chickened out without a licence and I do not want to wear out my welcome, however … the issues just are not going away on their own!

Besides an hourly wage that pays lower than a lot of unskilled labour positions, the career position of home-care aide demands that aides provide a vehicle and our personal cellphones for the job without remuneration for the use of our personal items until tax season.

We are expected to pre-call our clients before each visit on our own time and dime. We are not given sufficient information on the clients we attend to and type of homes we are about to encounter; many times it is a hostile environment, other times involving a contagious illness.

However, our co-ordinators demand 24 hours notice before we have access to our schedule! Everyone but the employee gets information. What’s wrong with this picture?

Home-care aides stationed in seniors facilities perform what used to be licensed practical nursing duties — without the wage or training.

Our hours are constantly being altered and clients are added to our workloads, often without our knowing until the client is missed. Conduct that is a direct labour code violation: an employer is not to alter an employee’s rate of pay nor hours of work willy-nilly without a discussion and an agreement from the employee.

Sometimes one longs for a union. Since when is an employee not entitled to know what their work week looks like so they can plan their personal lives accordingly? Not at this job.

Office staff/management treats field staff like an inconvenience: “You need to make an appointment to come pick up a schedule,” and “We need 24 hours notice.” Excuse me? Field staff carry home support operations. If we all walk today, they are out of a job also.

Formal training to become a care aide is popular because there is a high demand for health-care workers in this field. But to prospective students I say: It will get you a job but don’t expect to actually get paid worth anything at this point. Not until something changes and if there is no change, there is no change.

I chose this career because I love helping people, but I think it’s time for all of us care aides to stand together and demand better — it’s time to help ourselves.

Bailey Coltman

Red Deer

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