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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

October 17, 2008 at 1:59 PM

Initiative 1029: caregiver training

It’s not all about the money

The Seattle Times has recommended rejection of Initiative 1029 purely on concerns about cost and that a test would frighten immigrants [“Reject I-1029, a proposal to train and license long-term-care workers,” Editorial, Oct. 8].

To appreciate the potential benefits of I-1029, one only has to have a loved one in long-term care. Our loved one was accosted and struck in her own room, and knocked down by another resident as the caretaker watched, apparently not knowing what to do.

Current law requires that long-term caregivers obtain only 34 hours of training. Workers can begin employment after an orientation; they have four months to get the remaining 34 hours. I-1029 would require long-term caregivers to obtain 75 hours of mandatory training and passage of a test.

Insufficiently trained persons staff the majority of long-term-care facilities in the state, with approximately 20,000 new long-term-care workers hired annually.

Long-term-care centers are now “holding bins” for persons who cannot speak English and who are ill prepared to meet the complex needs of persons with advanced Alzheimer’s disease.

We urge “yes” on I-1029 on Nov. 4.

— Shirley and Ray Murphy, Edmonds

Follow the money trail

We are the parents of a child with severe developmental and physical disabilities. We rely heavily on hired caregivers to help us care for our son. We’ve been lucky enough to have family members, friends and people from our community whom we trust and who have provided excellent care. These good people have already gone through adequate training and background checks by the state in order to provide this care.

If Initiative 1029 were to pass, the requirements to become and remain a caregiver for our son would be unnecessarily burdensome. We could ultimately lose these resources and not be able to find replacements that we would trust and have as much confidence in.

And the same is true for families all across our state. For some, these new requirements might actually apply to a disabled child’s own parents or an elderly person’s own children.

If I-1029 passes, the sponsors of the initiative are the ones who will benefit financially. It is being supported by Washington state’s largest labor union, which will get tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to train their own members.

Don’t be fooled by the ballot language that would make it appear that you would be voting for our best interests.

— Evan Purcell and Ellen Norton, Tacoma

Comments | More in Election, Health care, Washington Legislature

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