Gov. Maura Healey has stated that she will “definitely” work with advocates and labor representatives to expand Massachusetts’ Personal Care Attendant Program to address a “crisis-level” employment shortage.
The MassHealth program allows disabled people to hire attendants. As a result, people can continue to be independent, live in their community, and take charge of their care. PCAs assist with daily activities, including eating, bathing, and toileting. Without the program, many people would be forced to live in nursing homes or other facilities.
Currently, the program serves over 40,000 disabled people. People served by the program include those with physical and intellectual disabilities. However, due to a labor shortage, many people cannot receive in-home care.
I am one of the thousands of Massachusetts residents who rely on the PCA program. I’ve been receiving PCA services for over a decade. I moved into my apartment nearly three years ago. My PCA provides around-the-clock care. Without the PCA program, moving out would have been impossible.
I have experienced the shortage firsthand. I had three different PCAs during three semesters of college. The lack of dependable PCAs added to my stress. I didn’t want to be worried about getting to class on time or using the bathroom.
I had recently started college and wanted to concentrate on my studies. I felt rushed while on campus. In particular, I wouldn’t have much time to eat, or socialize because my PCA would often rush me to get back home.
At times my mother had to miss work to take me to college. I felt guilty. It wasn’t fair for my mom to miss work. Other times, a friend had to miss work. The more this happened, the worse I felt.
Without PCA services, life as I know it would be over in an instant. All disabled people deserve to be a part of their community, and the proper support allows us to do that. The shortage must be addressed because care can’t wait!
Kuczynski, Henry. “Healey Vows to Address Shortage of Personal Care Attendants.” The Greenfield Recorder, Newspapers of New England, 9 Jan. 2023, https://www.recorder.com/Healey-and-personal-care-attendant-workforce-shortage-49333844.