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Anne Johansen New Member of PCA Workforce Council

 
PCA_Council_member_Anne_Johansen

Profile of Anne Johansen

The PCA Workforce Council, which uses citizen engagement to strengthen the PCA program in Massachusetts, recently appointed Anne Johansen of Quincy to a three year term. As a consumer in the MassHealth PCA program, as well as a new member of the PCA Workforce Council, Anne is emphatic in her support for PCA workers and their rights. She says, “Workers need to have a good job in order for us to have a good workforce.”

The PCA Workforce Council, which consists of nine members, is an innovative governmental body, charged with insuring the quality of long-term, in-home personal care by recruiting, training and stabilizing the work force of personal care attendants. The Council also sponsors the online Massachusetts PCA Directory (www.mass.gov/findpca), which offers a comprehensive and current list of people in Massachusetts who are ready to provide personal care.

Anne, who grew up in Denver, has lived in the Boston area for 10 years, since her daughter moved to Boston after college. Anne, who has was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy when she was six, spent seven years in four different nursing homes in the Boston area after she discovered, at the age of 55, that she could no longer transfer to a standing position without help.

Unhappy with nursing home living and determined to make a change, Anne took the advice of a friend and contacted Boston Center for Independent Living (BCIL). An advocate at BCIL suggested that – with the right support – she could live in her home. With BCIL’s help Anne was able to transition successfully to her own apartment in Quincy in May 2012.

With the assistance of three PCAS, Anne is thrilled to be living independently in her own apartment. She receives six hours of PCA support each day, split between morning and evening shifts. PCAs help her get up in the morning and prepare for her day, and then get dinner and help her to bed in the evening.

Anne says, “My PCAs are wonderful. In addition to meeting my physical demands, they lift my spirits. We do craft projects together and they oversee spring planting on my patio.” Anne found her newest PCA, Denise, who she nicknamed “the cleaning machine,” on the Massachusetts PCA Directory.

Eager to help others with disabilities, Anne began to volunteer with BCIL, which nominated her to the PCA Workforce Council in the summer of 2013. She was confirmed in December. Anne serves on the Labor and Management sub-committee and works with 1199SEIU, which represents MA PCA workers.

Anne is honored to serve on the Council, and feels an obligation to represent the ordinary consumer who is on MassHealth. She wants to make sure that individuals with disabilities and their families know there are alternatives for people who do not want to live in nursing homes.

Anne notes that it cost the state twice as much annually to pay for her nursing home care than it does to support her living independently.

Anne says: “People can get housing, and can have PCAs provide support. My care is day and night. The nursing home rarely provided me with 30 minutes of direct care a day.  Now I get six-hours of care just for me, doing what I need. I get the care I need every day. It’s wonderful to be free again. PCAs make that possible.”

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