Families like the Bostics in Methuen, Massachusetts are struggling to find qualified and reliable direct support workers. James Bostic is 19 years old and lives with his mother, Beth, a single parent. James has a main diagnosis of Kernicterus, which is a brain injury caused by severe jaundice. He struggles with motor control and is not able to walk or talk.
Beth describes her experience supporting her son at home: “Caring for a 120-pound, non-ambulatory adult is exhausting. James needs physical assistance for literally EVERYTHING – feeding, bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, administering medication. It is a full time and often strenuous job.”
Finding and trusting direct support staff is critically important for Beth: “Finding and keeping qualified PCAs to provide safe, competent care for James is a significant ongoing challenge. Those who have the skills and compassion to provide the care he needs are not given competitive wages that enable them to take care of themselves/their families. We’ve gone close to a year without a full team, as many have left to take better paying and less demanding jobs.”
To learn more about The Arc’s commitment to solving the DSP workforce shortage crisis, visit arcmass.org/workforce.