Your opinion: CNAs are heroes: It’s time to pay them a living wage
By Rose Marie Pardo
Editor's note: National Nursing Assistants Week was June 17-24.
As I reflect back on the last 14 months living in a nursing facility during the COVID-19 pandemic, I am reminded of the dedicated and kind caregivers I have had the good fortune of knowing and being in the care of. These caregivers include Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), nurses, activities staff, rehab aides, social workers, housekeepers and others who work at Hancock Park Rehabilitation & Nursing Center in Quincy. My “Dream Team” as I call them are made up of four women, CNAs, who make sure that I am healthy, safe, protected, happy, comforted and well.
Marie Chantel, Cat, Miriam and Margareth are my “Dream Team,” and they are truly my heroes. During the pandemic even when they feared the virus, or their own families getting sick, Marie Chantel, Cat, Miriam and Margareth came to work to care for me and the other residents. These CNAs provided care, comforted our fears, listened to our needs, and they were there when no one else could be here. I am grateful for my “Dream Team” every day but especially during this celebration of National Nursing Assistants Week when we recognize the commitment and dedication of CNAs to the residents entrusted in their care. I want to remind everyone to thank a compassionate caregiver working in a nursing facility. They deserve our praise, and our utmost respect for the difficult year it has been.
It may come to as a surprise to you, but many CNAs today do not yet earn a living wage. The CNAs who walk through the halls of my nursing facility deserve to make more money. I rely on the staff here, and so do all the residents. Their work is incredibly difficult, and their pay does not reflect that. It is time for MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid program, to update funding for nursing facilities and ensure CNAs can earn more money. There are 30,000 CNAs in Massachusetts like Marie Chantel, Cat, Miriam and Margareth. Together, we must raise our voices and tell elected officials it is now time to give our nursing facility heroes what they deserved all along, a living wage for the work they do.
Rose Marie Pardo has lived at Hancock Park Rehabilitation & Nursing Center in Quincy for nearly six years. Prior to moving to Hancock Park, Pardo was a lifelong resident of South Weymouth. She worked at South Shore Hospital for 40 years as a purchaser of medical equipment and supplies.