State Representative Rita Mayfield Gets Hands-On Experience in Home Care


April 11, 2012

Protection of Home Care Funding Takes Center Stage as Proposed Cuts Loom, Threaten Services for Local Residents

(Waukegan) - Today Representative Rita Mayfield got hands-on experience learning the role home care programs play in the lives of local seniors and people with disabilities by spending time on the job with home care worker Elizabeth Van Bergen and her consumer and brother Chris Hradisky. Mr. Hradisky spent over a year in nursing home care and was fighting for his life, with family worried he would not make it. Finally in January, with the help of the Community Reintegration Program and the Lake County Center for Independent Living, Mr. Hradisky was able to move back home and was granted access to home care services through the DHS-DRS Home Services Program. Since Elizabeth Van Bergen has been serving as his home care worker, Hradisky has made a dramatic turnaround and attributes the progress to his ability to recuperate at home with assistance from Van Bergen.
"The home care services I receive have increased the quality of my life and allowed me to get back into my community. I do not want to go back into a nursing home and if there are cuts to this program I may not be able to stay in my home long term like I want to," said Chris Hradisky.
Personal Assistants, or home care workers, like Elizabeth Van Bergen help local consumers with services like personal hygiene and bathing, grocery shopping, dressing, assistance with mobility around the house, therapy, and more. Representative Mayfield found out firsthand what an average day is like for Van Bergen, assisting Mr. Hradisky with house cleaning, laundry, and preparing his dinner.
The Governor's proposed budget includes huge cuts to the DHS-DRS Home Services Program that provides access to home care services for people with disabilities in Illinois. This program not only helps consumers remain independent and living in their own homes, but it also allows the state to avoid the high costs associated with institutional care. The proposed $60.5 million in service and eligibility cuts would kick thousands of people with disabilities out of the program, prevent thousands from entering and receiving the services they need, and drastically reduce services for over 14,000 consumers. As lawmakers grapple with the budget, consumers fear the impact cuts would have on the care they need, and workers fear they could be headed for the unemployment line.

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