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Personal care aide program leaves families struggling, scrambling

Adobe Stock/Kirk Fisher - stock.adobe.com

In the op-ed “MassHealth’s Personal Care Attendant Program’s hybrid model cheats families like mine” (Opinion, May 19), John Summers presented a comprehensive overview of this program. Given that my daughter and our family have benefited from PCA services for almost 20 years, I offer two additional points: The expectation of considerable unpaid labor by family members is assumed. In addition, no allowances are available for emergencies if or when a parent or guardian is incapacitated. For example, last year, my husband suffered a major injury, necessitating my daily presence at the hospital. The PCA program’s allocation of paid hours per week was grossly insufficient, prompting reliance on family members to provide vital services for our daughter.

The most important prescription for the health of the disabled individual in one’s care might be a prompt response to the request, “Sit with me.” If nurse evaluations included this “activity of daily living,” 15-minute increments would not nearly suffice.


Judith T. Heerlein