More than 30 percent of the 1.3 million caregivers in nursing homes nationwide receive no health-care benefits and have an average median annual income of $9,000, states a new survey from the U.S. Department of Labor.
Many are certified nursing assistants who help residents with bathing, eating and dressing. Joanne Negstad agrees it's a job for which many are not adequately paid. Negstad directs Lutheran Services in America, an alliance of ELCA and Lutheran ChurchMissouri Synod social ministry organizations.
And the problem affects the 1.6 million elderly and ill residents as well because the industrywide low pay contributes to a critical staff shortage. "We're competing for workers with fast food places, some paying $11 an hour," Negstad said. "We can't pay that. The funds just aren't there. More than half of our income comes from the government. It hasn't kept up with costs."
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