Letter to the Editor: Support Workers Undervalued

I am a mother of a wonderful child with a disability.

As a parent of a son with a disability, I am concerned about what his future holds so I became a support worker at Elmwood Group Homes (EGH) to learn more about what our community has to offer for people with intellectual disabilities. I have learned that there are organizations like EGH that provide good care for people with intellectual disabilities, but that support workers are undervalued for the type and amount of work they do.

I work with compassionate and accepting people who provide a wide range of services: personal care, administering medications, organizing and performing household duties, transporting and accompanying residents to recreation activities and to medical appointments. Above all, support workers are the residents’ emotional and spiritual support system.

It’s discouraging to see the high turnover of staff due to low wages at EGH. It is emotionally difficult on residents, as they are less tolerant and understanding of change and do not have continuity in care that they need. Qualified staff will often leave for higher paying jobs elsewhere. I feel that an increase in pay for support workers would be the right direction for management to take as it would encourage people to stay in the profession of providing quality care to our most vulnerable population.

Being a support worker is not just a job for me. I have the responsibility to be an advocate for my son, people with disabilities, and for other parents and families who are affected. I hope you will join me.

Candy Hatley, Saskatoon

Published in the Star Phoenix on March 26, 2018

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