Thursday, 27 June 2013

Home care worker concerned about dangerous driving conditions (PART 2 OF 2)

Just imagine the frustration. Imagine a home care worker, on a cold winter day, trying to get to their next visit to care for and to help. And their vehicle — even a four-wheel drive — breaks down because of wear and tear. Imagine how it would feel, knowing someone is depending on you, but because of a new payment structure, you’re stuck … and can’t do the thing you love to do.

Donna says that is a bigger reality than we might want to think. Donna works for WeCare and drives to and from people in the community. But Alberta Health Services re-wrote a new contract with WeCare. Donna, not her real name, says WeCare workers will no longer be compensated for the distance they drive. “We only make between $15-17 dollars an hour as caregivers. By the time we take all our expenses off our hourly wage we will be making less than minimum wage. As you can appreciate this is unacceptable and all qualified people are leaving their jobs Aug. 1.  It is impossible to run a vehicle with no money.”

She continues: “I fear for caregivers driving old, unreliable vehicles down gravel roads in the middle of a snowstorm. This is dangerous.  We will have casualties in the field.”

And that is … unimaginable.

Guest blogger Ron Plant on Rick Hansen


When I read the 4000+ word article that David Baines wrote Vancouver SUN, questioning the ‘FINANCIAL STEWARDSHIP’ of the Rick Hansen Foundation, it raised a few questions for me.

1.How many months has this man devoted to this story, and what was his motivation?
2.Why, of all the prospective targets to finger point, would you choose this topic for your swan song? Enjoy your retirement, Mr. Baines.
3.What business is it of David Baines, how the Rick Hansen Foundation is run, or what compensation Rick Hansen receives?

In my opinion, if Baines is afforded months to conspire and craft his… ummm… complaint, exposé, or whatever it is, shouldn’t the folks at the Rick Hansen Foundation be given some time to respond? That is IF they feel the need to respond at all. Why is it that after a cursory read through of one reporter’s article, some members of the public (many of whom have never read a financial statement in their lives) start throwing around words like fraud, and demanding explanations? Rick Hansen doesn’t owe me any explanation, and I dare say he likely doesn’t owe you one either.

To me, Rick Hansen is a man who has made huge strides in affecting public perception of persons with disabilities. He has given hope to generations of persons with spinal cord injuries and related disorders through significant, ongoing research fundraising efforts, and has shown a spirit of determination in the face of adversity well beyond what the average person has. You ever roll around the world in a wheelchair? Me neither.
If I have any point to make here at all, it is simply: Don’t rush to judgment. Even at 4,000 words, David Baines hasn’t given us all the facts, nor do we have any feedback from the foundation. Or does that not matter in the court of public opinion?

An unlikely hero speaks volumes

We may not have heard Jacqui Brocklebank’s name until earlier last week, but it’s a name we need to remember. Brocklebank lived in High River and had cerebral palsy. Sadly, the 33-year-old died because of the flood: and the way she died was so unselfish. More importantly, Brocklebank showed how we all can help others, and how people with disabilities aren’t always on the receiving end of getting assistance.

Brocklebank’s mother Janie Pighin tells CBC her daughter knew everyone in town. Brocklebank lived in her condo on the east side of High River, which was safe from the flooding. But she was worried about others. So she left her home, concerned about friends in trouble. It was then when Brocklebank was swept up in flood waters and died. It is tragic: words can’t even come close to describing.

Brocklebank needs to be remembered as a hero. She put the safety of others before hers. She accepted the risk of her disability, but put in behind her. She has made a profound statement of how people with disabilities help others, even in dangerous situations. And, for me, her story is something I will never forget.